Luxembourg’s ArcelorMittal has said that it will not issue tenders in the second quarter of 2010 for its planned 5 million tonnes-a-year (t/y) steel plant at Jijel in Algeria.

A source familiar with the project tells MEED that the schedule has now changed and the facility, which had an estimated budget of $2.5bn when announced in 2008, is now on hold until further notice.

Arcelormittal MENA projects
Project Country Completion date 
Jubail seamless steel tube mill Saudi Arabia Q3 2011
Sulaimaniyah steel mill Iraq Q4 2014
Red Sea steel factory Egypt Q1 2014
Jijel DRI plant Algeria On hold
Source: MEED Projects

“ArcelorMittal’s current focus is Brazil and India,” the source says “While Algeria is still an attractive market to the company, there will be no imminent movement on this project.”

The source adds that the project at Jijel, located 360 kilometres east of the country’s capital Algiers, being put on hold does not mean that it is cancelled. When completed the plant the capacity will include 1 million-t/y of steel billets and a 600,000-t/y rolling mill.   

ArcelorMittal has also said that it is still interested in building its planned $340m steel plant in Egypt despite the local authorities threatening to revoke the company’s licence to construct the facility due to inactivity on the company’s part.  

“The consumption of steel in Egypt has been impacted by the recent financial crisis,” an ArcelorMittal 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 ArcelorMittal.”

Egypt has given the company until August to break ground on the plant, which will have a capacity of 1.4 million-t/y of steel billets and 1.6 million-t/y of steel using direct reduced iron (DRI) technology when completed.      

The ArcelorMittal spokeswoman did not confirm that the plant, due to be built near the Red Sea, would still 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).