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LISCO to restart parts of its steel production operations next week
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Friday, 20 Jan 2012
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Reuters reported that Libya's state owned steelmaker LISCO will restart part of its steel production operations next week and expects to resume steel melting in April 2012 if the energy supply to the city of Misrata is restored.

The company had to suspend operations almost a year ago due to conflicts that later saw Libya's former dictator Mr Muammar Gaddafi, overthrown, captured and killed.

Mr Ali Abumais foreign marketing manager of LISCO said that "We are re heating the hot briquetted iron) plant and one rolling mill. If everything goes well from a technical point of view we should restart producing HBI at the beginning of next week and rebar at the end of next week."

Resuming the steel melting process will take some more time, however, as it is an energy intensive process and LISCO does not dispose of enough energy at present in Misrata, where it is based, on the coast east of Tripoli.

Mr Abumais said that "The conflict caused a lot of damage in Misrata and our power plant is currently supplying energy to the city so it can't be used for steel melting. Once Misrata is connected once again to the country's energy network we can start melting again. If electricity is restored at the end of March 2012, we will restart melting operations in April 2012 at the earliest."

The steelmaker's production capacity was about 1.3 million tonnes of crude steel per year before its closure but it had already carried out some upgrade works that need to be finalized and that will boost capacity to 1.7 to 1.8 million tonnes.

In the last few months, it has stockpiled some iron ore and billet, a semi finished steel product that is processed into rebar. It is also expecting to receive some cargoes of iron ore from Brazilian supplier Samarco, the world's second largest exporter of iron ore pellets, between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter, when the melting operations are expected to restart.

Mr Abumais said that LISCO will also start importing some billet soon. Turkey and the CIS are its main billet suppliers.

(Sourced from www.reuters.com)

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