FNI: Bataan steel plant construction to start next year


Listed mining firm Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. (FNI) said its $50-million rebar steel rolling plant project in Bataan will push through next year and that it intends to shoulder the entire cost of the project.

FNI President Dante R. Bravo said it will no longer push through with its earlier plan of partnering with another entity for the project. Construction of the steel plant has been delayed to next year given the challenges posed by Covid-19-related mobility restrictions.

“We believe that we have the capacity to do that,” Bravo said during the virtual press briefing on the launch of the 2020 sustainable development goals report of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA).

“Only at this point we are hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic. But we will push with that. We cannot do construction this year, next year possibly.”

Two years ago, FNI announced that it has partnered with Hong Kong-based Huarong Asia Ltd. for the steel plant, with Huarong shouldering 51 percent of the total investment.

The start of the commercial operations for steel plant project, which was unveiled by FNI in mid-2019, was targeted to start by 2022. However, the Covid-19 pandemic derailed the project’s timeline.

In October 2020, FNI disclosed that it has acquired a 40-percent stake in Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) port operator Seasia Nectar Port Services, Inc. to ensure that the company’s “easy and steady access to port services in relation to the importation of raw materials, especially during construction.”

In its disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, FNI said it had planned to start the construction of the steel plant in the first quarter.

With the steel plant project, the company is aiming to corner 5 percent of the 10-million metric ton local steel market. The rebar steel-rolling plant will have an annual production capacity of 600,000 metric tons, according to FNI.

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