Business / Industries

China-backed steel plant to save Bolivia $250m in annual steel imports

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-04-01 11:14

LA PAZ - Bolivia will save around $250 million a year from reduced steel imports once the El Mutun steelworks begins operation in 2019, a minister said Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Bolivian government and Sinosteel Corporation signed an agreement to allow the Chinese firm to design, build and operate the El Mutun steelworks in the eastern department of Santa Cruz, near the Brazilian border.

"We expect that, from 2019, we will be able to manufacture enough steel to satisfy domestic demand. This project will allow us to quickly save money from steel imports, representing important savings for Bolivia," Minister of Mines and Metallurgy Cesar Navarro told a press conference here.

The minister said that the government had worked out precise parameters with Sinosteel Equipment for the entire El Mutun complex to be finished and delivered within 30 months.

The project's investment budget has been set at $422 million, 85 percent of which will be financed by a Chinese credit line and the other 15 percent by the Bolivian government.

Bolivia's currently imports around 300,000 tons of steel a year. In the next ten years, the country's steel demand is set to double, to reach a quantity worth around $600 million, according to Navarro.

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