The joint venture partners behind the $1.2bn Hidd steel mill project in Bahrain have signed contracts with the winners of the two major construction contracts to build the plant.

The engineering, procurement and construction were signed at a special ceremony held by the partners behind the scheme, Kuwait’s Foulath and Japan’s Yamato Kogyo, at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Bahrain on 30 March.

Japan’s Kobe Steel and Midrex Corporation of the US signed the contract to build the 1.5 million tonne a year (t/y) direct reduction iron plant on the scheme, while a consortium of two subsidiaries of Germany’s SMS Group, SMS Comcast and SMS Meer, and South Korea’s Samsung Engineering and Construction signed the deal to build a 1 million t/y the melt shop and heavy section rolling mill.

Construction is expected to take up to two years to complete, with commercial output expected by mid-2012.