Bolivia will start industrial steel production in 2024, said this Tuesday the president of the Empresa Siderúrgica del Mutún (ESM), Jorge Alvarado, when he stated that the progress of the construction of the Mutún Steel Plant had reached 69 percent.
“We are certain that this project will become a reality this year so that by January 2024, we will be starting the industrial production of steel in the first National Mutun Steel Plant”, said Alvarado to Cepra radio.
According to the executive, the construction of the industrialization project suffered a delay when it was paralyzed between the end of 2019 and 2020 during the administration of the interim president, Jeanine Áñez (2019-2020).
Sinosteel Equipment and Engineering resumed last year the construction of the steel mill in the Mutún iron deposit, in the Germán Busch province of the Bolivian department of Santa Cruz, during the current president’s administration, Luis Arce.
He recalled that the large iron deposit has reserves evaluated at approximately 40 billion tons of iron and 10 billion tons of manganese, which places it as one of the 10 largest iron reserves in the world.
Alvarado says this “mother” complex will produce rebar and wire rod of different diameters. From the latter, it will be possible to obtain by-products such as nails, wire, nuts, and lathes, among others, for which other small factories must be installed.
“At this stage of construction of the steel plant, there are approximately 1,200 direct and 1,500 indirect jobs. When the plant starts operating, it will generate 700 direct jobs (professionals and workers) and 1,500 indirect jobs”, he said.
According to a report issued by ESM, the construction of the Mutún Steel Plant represents an investment of US$546 million, earmarked for the construction of seven plants: concentration, pelletizing, direct reduction, steel mill, rolling mill, power plant, and auxiliary plants.
The Mutún plant plans to produce 194,000 tons of rolled steel annually, known as construction bars, which will cover at least 50 percent of domestic demand.
Alvarado reaffirmed that massive steel production aligns with the government’s import substitution industrialization policy.