Following its recent announcements of closing some its steel plants in Europe, ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, is temporarily halting its $1.2-billion expansion of its steel plant in Latin America due to slowdown in the European and US markets.
The Luxemburg-based company is temporarily stopping the expansion at its integrated Joćo Monlevade steel plant in Brazil's Minas Gerais state, which is expected to double capacity from about 1.2 million tons of crude steel per year to 2.4 million tons per year in 2012.
The expansion, which started in May 2010, included constructing a new sinter unit with capacity of 2.3 million tonnes, a new blast furnace with capacity of 1.12 million tonnes, a third rolling line to process 1.15 million tonnes and raise output of wire rods to 2.3 million tonnes.
A company spokesperson told local newspaper BNamericas, "This is a temporary measure due to market conditions and the decision will be reassessed in due course." "ArcelorMittal continues to believe in Brazil's growth and confirms that it does not intend to cancel the project," the spokesperson added.
ArcelorMittal produced 92,629,000 tonnes of steel last year or 6 per cent of the global steel output, 37 per cent of it was produced in Western Europe, while 11 per cent was in Central and Eastern Europe.
Total steel shipments in the second quarter of 2011 were 22.2 million metric tons compared with 22.3 million metric tons in the year-ago quarter.