LISCO keeps Steel Mills Running

The Libyan Iron and Steel Company (LISCO) is said to be struggling to keep its mills operational.

Chairman Mohamed Abdelmalik al-Faqih told Reuters:

"The position of the company is not good, even worse than 2013 or 2014, (but) we are working.

"The main problems are shortages of natural gas and electricity.

"Demand from Egypt is not that big but we still are exporting HBI (hot-briquetted iron) and hot-rolled coils."

The Tripoli-based electricity ministry had forced the Misrata-based company to cut output to one third of capacity for six months to save power. That's on top of having to shut furnaces down each evening.

A tank guards the factory, and the nearby port is protected by anti-aircraft guns.

The company is planning to produce between 500,000 tonnes and 600,000 tonnes of liquid steel, its main base product, this year, roughly in line with last year's output.

Output at iron plants is expected to reach 700,000 tonnes or half of the annual target, down from around 800,000 tonnes last year.

This included around 300,000 tonnes of hot briquetted iron, a steel making ingredient, short of the goal of 500,000 tonnes. The bar mill would produce 350,000 tonnes, while the hot-strip mill (pictured) would reach 250,000 tonnes.

Foreign contractors from Italy's Daniele, helping with the $2.5 billion-expansion, have left Misrata for security reasons, but al-Faqih said he was in negotiations with them (Danieli) to assist remotely with the commissioning. "They will train some of our people at their plants in Italy."

(Source: Reuters)

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