Luxembourg steel giant Arcelor Mittal has said that it is still interested in building a planned steel plant in Egypt despite the authorities threatening to revoke the company’s building licence.

“The consumption of steel in Egypt has been impacted by the recent financial crisis,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “A recovery is in process and we plan to start discussions with the Egyptian Government about the project imminently. Egypt remains an important jurisdiction for future investment by Arcelor Mittal.”

Egypt has given Luxembourg steel giant Arcelor Mittal until August to break ground on its planned $340m steel plant, which will have a capacity of 1.4 million tonnes-a-year of steel billets and 1.6 million-t/y of steel using DRI (direct reduced iron) technology if completed.      

The Arcelor Mittal spokeswoman did not confirm that the plant, due to be built near the Red Sea, would be completed as expected in the first quarter of 2014.

Prices for steel in Egypt have risen during 2010, but that has been attributed to the rise in raw materials rather than a rise in demand.

In early June MEED reported that ArcelorMittal is in the final stages of arranging a $670m project finance deal for the development of a seamless tube mill in Saudi Arabia (MEED 11:06:10).