Chinese companies help Bolivia's steel industry flourish

Seetao 2022-02-07 11:06
  • China and Bolivia signed a memorandum of cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative in 2018, and Mutong Steel Plant is a key project
Read this article
15 Minutes

On the first day of the Tiger's New Year, Ximena Pena, who works in Sinosteel Bolivia, sent the reporters the New Year's greetings from the little tiger holding a "Happy New Year" banner. She is a Bolivian business manager who has studied and lived in China. She said: "I am very happy to grow up with Sinosteel Bolivia."

Her company is building the Muton Steel Plant in Bolivia. The first batch of heavy equipment arrived in Puerto Sucre a few days ago. The scene is unforgettable: 50 long-haul heavy-duty trucks stretched for thousands of meters along the road, and the "big" heavy-duty trucks are equipped with about 20 vehicles. A total of about 1,000 tons of steel structure equipment are loaded on the wheel. This indicates that the steel mill has officially entered the stage of on-site equipment installation.

China and Bolivia signed a memorandum of understanding on the Belt and Road cooperation in 2018. The Mutong Steel Project is a key production capacity cooperation project between China and Bolivia, mainly including concentrators, pelletizing plants, direct reduced iron plants, steelmaking plants, steel rolling plants, Self-provided power plants and supporting public and auxiliary facilities, etc. In its 200th anniversary of the founding of the country and its development plan for 2025, the new government of Bolivia clearly proposed to promote the industrialization of the mining industry by "accelerating the construction of the Mutong Steel Project". After the Mutong Steel Plant is completed and put into operation, it can save 50% of the country's foreign exchange expenditure for imported steel and fill the gap in modern steel production.

Bolivian President Arce said at the equipment arrival ceremony that the arrival of this batch of equipment in the local area marks that the Muton project will soon realize the dream of the local steel industry. After the completion of the Mutong Steel Plant, it will become one of the glass import substitution plans, which will first meet the needs of the glass domestic market and greatly change the current situation that steel is completely dependent on imports. Bolivia and China have firmly established friendly cooperation and shared the concept of common development. The Bolivian side's cooperation with China will promote the economic development of Bolivia, and China is grateful for the help provided by China.

Since the start of construction in January 2019, the Mutong Steel Plant project has successively completed basic design, construction of three links and one leveling, construction of temporary facilities such as camps, relocation of construction units, detailed design, ordering of major equipment, and the arrival of the first batch of steel structures on site in Bolivia, etc. multiple nodes. In January 2020, the Mutong Steel Plant was suspended due to the change of the Bolivian regime and the new crown epidemic. The President and the Ministry of Mines met to discuss the resumption of work on the project, and to coordinate and resolve some key difficulties in the process of resumption of work. Sinosteel Group has actively negotiated with Mutong Steel Plant to clarify the schedule for resumption of work and the work that needs to be completed by all parties, so that the project will resume work on time in July 2021.

Huang Yazhong, Chinese ambassador to Bolivia, said that Mutong is the future steel capital of Bolivia. Mutong Steel Plant not only represents the future of Bolivia's industrialization, but also represents the friendship between China and Bolivia. Since the establishment of the new Bolivian government, bilateral strategic mutual trust has been deepened. China unswervingly supports the industrialization development path of the Bolivian government. It is believed that with the close cooperation between the two parties, the project will be completed on schedule and put into production as soon as possible, creating economic benefits, helping the recovery of the Bolivian economy and the development of the metallurgical industry, and bringing tangible benefits to the people of Bolivia.

"The sleeping giant will be awakened," said Jorge Alvarado, president of Mutong Steel. "After the steel plant is completed and put into operation, Mutong Steel will produce the first steel in Bolivia, the first In this stage, the annual production of about 200,000 tons of steel will meet 50% of Bolivia’s domestic consumption.” Mutong Steel Plant relies on the current well-known undeveloped large iron mine in the world, the Mutong Iron Mine, and its preliminary proven reserves are about 57 billion Ton. The construction of the steel plant will fully exploit and utilize local mineral resources, promote the process of mining industrialization, and create more wealth for Bolivia.

"The Chinese team is committed to building a modern, high-efficiency, green and low-carbon integrated steel plant for Bolivia, and promoting the localization of its steel," said Ren Jianhui, manager of Sinosteel Bolivia, "We have prepared dry drains that save new water and occupy a small area scheme, chain grate-rotary kiln scheme that saves energy and reduces consumption and achieves waste heat recovery, steelmaking scheme that reduces the impact load on the power grid and bag dust removal, industrial water purification cycle, scrap steel and iron oxide scale and dust removal ash recovery and recycling and a series of green Low-carbon technical solutions and the use of natural gas as a reducing gas to achieve a significant reduction in nitrogen oxides and reduce carbon emissions by about 50%.”

Respecting local culture, fulfilling social responsibilities, and utilizing local human resources are the original intentions of the Chinese team. It is understood that there are currently 20 Sinosteel management team and 150 Bolivian employees. With the gradual development of the project, 30 operators of the steel plant will be dispatched to China and Mexico to receive professional training to adapt to the post-production operation of the first full-process steel plant in Bolivia. During the construction of the project, 1,500 direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs will be provided to the local area. Keywords: International, One Belt One Road Project, One Belt One Road News

“I have learned a lot from working with Chinese employees,” says Ximena Pena. “They are very patient with me and always find a way for me to understand and find solutions. I have personally experienced cultures outside of my hometown. And tradition, I feel more meaning to work in a diverse environment. I am very happy and grateful to have the opportunity to work in a Chinese steel company, I believe that the hard work will pay off and be successful in daily activities.”Editor/XuNing