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ArcelorMittal steel producer says company will keep $1 billion USD Mexico investment promise

Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán — The world’s largest steel producer says it will keep its promise to invest $1 billion USD in Mexico over the next three years.

ArcelorMittal says regardless of NAFTA or potential tariffs, the company still intends to invest the said $1 billion USD in part to boost its North American trade operations.

The investment will also boost ArcelorMittal’s Mexican mining operations and will “support ArcelorMittal’s NAFTA operations by providing high-quality semi-finished steel slabs,” the company added.

They say that Mexico is a key production platform for them.

“I am delighted to announce a $1 billion investment in Mexico over the next three years so we can meet Mexican demand for steel products, which is growing rapidly,” the company’s chairman and chief executive, Lakshmi Mittal, said at an event attended by President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The investment will be made in their Lázaro Cárdenas plant in Michoacán, which is home to ArcelorMittal’s primary steel making operations in Mexico. The investment covers construction of a new hot strip mill, which upon completion in about three years, will allow production of 2.5 million tonnes of flat rolled steel.

“Coils from the new hot strip mill will be supplied to domestic, non-auto, general industry customers,” the company said in a statement.

Ricardo Bussey, director of Corporate Affairs at ArcelorMittal México, says that 80 percent of the steel the company produces in the country is destined for the local market, and that the remaining 20 percent is exported to the United States, Canada and other markets.

“In this context, we will continue working in the same way,” Bussey said.

ArcelorMittal currently produces about 4 million tonnes per year, but after the investment is complet, annual production is expected to increase by about a third to reach 5.3 million tonnes.

In 2007, ArcelorMittal bought a $1.4 billion steel plant at Lazaro Cardenas alongside another plant it already owned at the port. ArcelorMittal operates six facilities at three ports in Mexico.