The Board of Investments (BOI) has endorsed the grant of green lane status for the 500,000 metric tons (MT) section mill project of SteelAsia Lemery Works Inc. in Lemery, Batangas.
Under Executive Order 18, BOI said the green lane endorsement can expedite the processing and issuance of permits and licenses for projects identified as strategic investments.
With an initial investment cost of P19.3 billion, the project is expected to start operations in July 2024, employing 600 personnel and workers from the local town and nearby areas.
Benjamin Yao, Chairman and CEO of SteelAsia said the Green Lane will be “very helpful” to the company.
“We consider it as a ‘win’ for the country and we will convert this privilege into action.”
The investment promotion agency described the project as “the greenfield design, erection, and commissioning of the Philippines’s first sections of production: a state-of-the-art hot-rolling production line with an upstream integrated recycling-based steelmaking.”
Due to the lack of steel manufacturing players in the country, the Philippines ranked 20th among the top importers of steel globally.
In 2022 alone, the Philippines imported about $5.23 billion worth of steel US$2.18 billion of which was imported from China, according to the BOI.
BOI said the local steel manufacturing is deemed “insufficient” to address the growing demand for the product, especially with the increasing consumption of sections from both infrastructure projects and private developments.
With this, the attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry said, “SteelAsia’s project has an import-substitution strategy targeting the large and fast-growing domestic market for the sale of the mills’ output.”
The plant will tap the electric arc furnace (EAF) technology to refine steel which will be used to hot-roll steel sections such as H-beams, I-beams, I-channels, and unequal leg angle bars.
“The presence of local manufacturers aims to lower the cost of construction, shorten construction periods, and further spur growth in domestic construction. It will also give rise to ancillary industries, such as structural steel services including design, engineering, and built-up steel structures,” BOI said in a statement on Thursday.
In a statement issued by SteelAsia last July 2023, Yao said his “vision” is for the Philippines to have its own integrated steel industry that “will give birth” to new industries and businesses such as those that produce ships, cars,appliances and support others like construction and housing.
As the country imports most of its steel needs for now, Yao said this is a “tragedy” as other countries are “sapping” the jobs that are supposed to be generated in the Philippines.