Companies gearing up to bid for the contract include VAI Pomini– a joint venture between Austria’s Voest Alpine Industrieanlagenbau (VAI)and Italy-based Techint, Germany’s SMS Meer, Italy’s Danieli & Companyand Japan’s Kobe Steel. The bid deadline was extended by more than two months to 26 May to allow companies more time to prepare their proposals.

Bids are also due to be submitted by 9 May for the electric arc furnace package, which involves upgrading two existing furnaces and the addition of three mobile arc furnaces.

India’s MN Dastour & Companycarried out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for both packages.

The $300 million-400 million expansion, due to be completed in 2005, will see Qasco’s steel production capacity rise to 1.5 million t/y from 1 million t/y and its direct reduction iron (DRI) capacity reach 2 million t/y from an estimated 800,000 t/y.