Brazil: Steel maker Usipar plans to triple production of pig iron with Chinese partners

22 February 2008

Sao Paulo, Brazil, 22 Feb – Brazilian steel maker Usina Siderúyrgica do Pará (Usipar) is studying the possibility, in partnerships with China’s Minmetals, of increasing its pig iron production from 500,000 to 1.5 million tons, the financial director of the factory’s controlling group said.

For the third quarter of 2009, Usipar expects a new furnace to go into production, which is to be built in partnership with Minmetals, and pig iron production will increase to 1 million tons.

The Chinese company and Companhia Siderúrgica do Pará (Cosipar) are currently working on a new study, which is to be concluded by the end of next month, and aims to increase production to 1.5 million tons, within a period as yet to be decided.
Cospiar’s financial and new business director, Luis Guilherme Monteiro said that the study also outlined the start of steel production.

“The partnership is in the process of being studied, equipment specification and surveying investment,” said the Cosipar director. “As it is a bigger investment, we need a more detailed study,” he said.

Cosipar’s partnership with Minmetals began some five years ago when the Chinese company began supplying production equipment, in the north of Brazil, for pig iron, the raw materials used, amongst other things, to make steel.

As well as projects to increase pig iron production, the two companies are working on sinterization (a piece of equipment that agglomerates iron particles to make the granules used in the furnaces) with an 800,000 ton capacity.
Chinese experts are currently at the Usipar unit, in Pará state (northern Brazil), to supervise the transfer of technology and installation of the equipment.

Monteiro told macauhub that the partnership with Minmetals should also increase Cosipar’s participation in the Asian market.

“Last year we sold 30,000 tons (of pig iron) to China, but we believe that we have more opportunities this year because of the partnership (with Minmetals) and market demand,” the financial director said.

The Cosipar representative also said that the search for clients in China and Europe was part of the company’s strategy to diversify its markets, which is currently focused on the United States.

Currently Cosipar is Brazil’s biggest exporter of pig iron and in 2007 sold 1.2 million tons of the product. (macauhub)