A joint venture between the Philippines and China will begin building a steel fabrication plant in the southern Philippines next month, which is expected to be fully operational within four years, according to the Philippine partner.
The billion-dollar smelter, located in Zamboanga Sibugay province, in the west of the island of Mindanao, will process ore from a mine site in neighboring Zamboanga del Sur province.
“We transform the ore into steel bars,” Leonardo A. Fernandez, president and chief operating officer of Mount Zynai 0304 Mining Corp. (MZMC), said in an interview at the factory‘groundbreaking ceremony last week.
“It’s a very important project for the country because when you have the steel mill, you have 1,000 industries that are going to be created… someone will order, you give us the steel for the use of nails, steel bars,” he said.
The Mount Zynai Integrated Steel Mill and Smelter will be part of the Mount Zynai Industrial Park, a complex that will serve as the company’s administrative and operational center as well as local and foreign locators in the steel fabrication and manufacturing industries. downstream.
MZMC‘The Chinese partner is Shenzhou Investor Corp., which holds a 40% stake in the project.
The plant is scheduled for partial operation within two to three years.
Mr. Fernandez said they aim to produce 1.5 million metric tons (MT) of steel bars and steel products every year.
“What we are talking about is that 60% of production is for the domestic market and 40% will be exported,” he said, noting that local production will help reduce construction costs.
Without the plant, he said, “Imagine the cost of bringing the ore to port, loading the ore onto the ship, the ship going to China (for processing), and loading the steel billets (to Philippine destinations).”
The ore extraction site covers a 15,000 hectare property belonging to the indigenous Subanen Pigsalabukan Gokom community of Bayog.
Mr. Fernandez declared 1,000 hectares under the indigenous group‘the ancestral domain will be reserved for agroforestry, agricultural production and other community development projects
“This will not only benefit the Subanens, not only Diplahan, not only Zamboanga del Sur, but all of Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula)… we are truly part of the business. We are grateful to have such a transparent company, and we are grateful to the investor,” Ancestral Chief Timuay Lucenio Manda told Visayan during the groundbreaking ceremony. — Maya M. Padillo