The expansion will increase the plant’s total steel throughput to almost 250,000 tonnes a year (t/y) from the present design capacity of about 120,000 t/y. Construction work on the plant will begin in April 2004, with first production scheduled for early 2006.

The existing coil paint line is capable of painting the full range of coil strip products, including galvanised steel, zinc aluminium coated steel, aluminium, tinplate and cold rolled steel. The facility, the first high-speed continuous coil painting facility in the Middle East, started commercial production in May 1998.

Unicoil is a joint venture between Australia’s BHP Billitonand AH Al-Zamil Group and Rashed al-Rashed & Sons, both local.