SynopsisPhillipines Board of Investments has granted green lane status to SteelAsia Lemery Works Inc.'s 500,000 metric tons section mill project in Lemery, Batangas. This status will expedite permits and licenses for the project, expected to start operations in July 2024, aiming to address the Philippines' limited steel manufacturing capacity. With an initial investment of P19.3 billion, the project targets import substitution to meet local demand for steel products, particularly for infrastructure projects and private developments. The expansion plans to employ 600 personnel, stimulate ancillary industries, and support the growth of the domestic steel sector.ArticleThe Board of Investments (BOI) has taken a significant step by endorsing the green lane status for SteelAsia Lemery Works Inc.'s ambitious 500,000 metric tons section mill project in Lemery, Batangas. This endorsement, in line with Executive Order 18, is expected to streamline the processing of permits and licenses, marking a milestone for this strategic investment.With an initial investment cost of P19.3 billion, SteelAsia's Lemery Works project is on track to commence operations in July 2024. This endeavor holds promise not only for the company but also for the local community, as it anticipates employing 600 personnel and workers from the town and nearby areas.Benjamin Yao, Chairman and CEO of SteelAsia, expressed his optimism regarding the green lane status, stating that it will be "very helpful" to the company. He emphasized their commitment to converting this privilege into concrete actions that benefit the nation.BOI has described this project as the "greenfield design, erection, and commissioning of the Philippines's first sections of production." Specifically, it involves the establishment of a state-of-the-art hot-rolling production line with an upstream integrated recycling-based steelmaking process.This venture is strategically significant due to the limited presence of steel manufacturing players in the Philippines. As a result, the country ranks 20th among the top global steel importers, importing around $5.23 billion worth of steel in 2022, with a significant portion originating from China, according to BOI data.Recognizing the growing demand for steel, particularly in infrastructure and private developments, BOI has highlighted the project's import-substitution strategy. By targeting the local market, SteelAsia aims to address the shortage of domestic steel production capacity effectively.The plant's operations will utilize electric arc furnace (EAF) technology to refine steel, which will be used in the production of various steel sections such as H-beams, I-beams, I-channels, and unequal leg angle bars.BOI envisions that the presence of local manufacturers like SteelAsia will not only lower construction costs and shorten construction periods but also stimulate ancillary industries. This includes structural steel services encompassing design, engineering, and built-up steel structures.In a statement issued by SteelAsia in July 2023, Chairman Benjamin Yao shared his vision of fostering an integrated steel industry in the Philippines. This industry would not only meet domestic demand but also give rise to new sectors and businesses, such as shipbuilding, automotive manufacturing, appliances, and support industries like construction and housing.Currently, the Philippines heavily relies on steel imports, a situation that Yao describes as a "tragedy" as potential employment opportunities are missed, benefiting other countries instead.ConclusionSteelAsia's Lemery Works expansion project, backed by BOI's green lane endorsement, represents a crucial endeavor for the Philippines' steel industry. As the country addresses its limited domestic steel production capacity, this investment aims to stimulate local manufacturing, reduce imports, and foster ancillary industries. Additionally, it aligns with a vision for a thriving integrated steel sector that contributes to various economic segments, ultimately benefiting the nation.