Syed Fazl-e-Haider reports from Quetta, Pakistan for the Asia Times:
China Metallurgical Construction Corporation (MCC), which already runs a copper mine in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, is showing renewed interest in expanding and modernizing Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), the country’s only integrated steel-manufacturing plant, at a cost of US$2.2 billion.
The Chinese company plans to set up a new plant at a cost of $1.2 billion within two years in the first phase of the expansion project, capable of producing 2 million tonnes of steel per annum. In the second phase, MCC would modernize the existing PSM plant at a cost of $1 billion in another two years.
Local iron and steel traders have already urged the government to look into the looming problem of acute shortages of steel products, which may hamper construction activity in the country. Since Pakistan Steel is not in a position to meet the growing requirement of steel in the country, local merchants have to import products to meet their growing requirements of billets and re-rollable scrap.