Jordanian developer Tanmia has started work on a new greenfield steel plant at Khor al-Zubair, in the south of the country. The project is just one of many planned in the area by the Ministry of Industry & Minerals as part of its efforts to increase the country’s industrial base.

The Tanmia plant will have production capacity of 450,000 tonnes a year (t/y), comprising melt shops and rolling mills. Civil construction will be carried out by the developer’s in-house contractors, while equipment and technology has already been procured from international companies. The plant will be operated by Imnaa, the project company. Commissioning is set for 2007.

The ministry is looking to develop other schemes in the metals sector. It has drawn up a three-phase development plan covering the period 2006-31. The first phase will cover the rehabilitation and upgrade of existing Khor al-Zubair steel works, with the aim of increasing production to 1.5 million t/y from 650,000 t/y.

Other projects include the rehabilitation and upgrade of an existing sponge iron plant and establishing a greenfield sponge iron plant in the south. The ministry also has plans to set up flat steel plants to serve the local hydrocarbons pipe sector.

Later phases include upgrading an existing aluminium plant, and inviting investors to establish a 200,000-t/y aluminium smelter in the Khor al-Zubair area, about 40 kilometres south of Basra. These plans are dependent on the discovery of domestic bauxite deposits, and geological surveys are under way.

The ministry is looking for $3,000 million of investment in the sector over the next 20 years.