The local Emirates Steel Industries (ESI) has successfully commissioned its $650m heavy section mill expansion at its complex in Musaffah in Abu Dhabi.

The plant has been provided by Italy’s Danieli Group and after hot trials were successful in November 2011, ESI has subsequently rolled out its first beams.

The mill is the second component of the second phase of the ESI complex and is fully integrated with its other phase II facilities: a 1.6 million tonnes-a-year (t/y) direct reduction plant and a 1.4 million t/y steel making plant

“Now that [the heavy section mill] is complete, we will be the only producer of jumbo and heavy sections in the Mena region and will be able to offer drastically-reduced lead times and an improved product offering in terms of piece count and cut-to-length services,” Suhail al-Ameri, chairman of Emirates Steel said in a statement.

ESI’s direct reduced iron capacity now stands at 3.2 million t/y and its steelmaking capacity is 2.8 million t/y.

The company is still planning a $1bn phase III expansion although the timescale is still not clear.

Speculation regarding the site for the expansion has been mounting for almost two years, alternating between a greenfield site in the Taweelah area of Abu Dhabi a site at the ESI complex in Mussafah.

“No decision has been made yet regarding the site,” says a source familiar with the contract. “It could still be either Musaffah or Taweelah.”