THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) endorsed the P19.3 billion section mill project of steel manufacturer SteelAsia Lemery Works, Inc. for green lane.

“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,” said Benjamin Yao, chairman and chief executive officer of SteelAsia, in a statement.

In a press release, the DTI said that the 500,000-metric ton project was endorsed through the Board of Investment’s (BoI) one-stop action center for strategic investments.

The project is expected to start its operation in July next year and to employ personnel and workers from the host town and nearby areas.

It involves the greenfield design, erection and commissioning of a hot-rolling production line with an upstream integrated recycling-based steelmaking.

According to the BoI, the country has ranked 20th among the top importers of steel globally due to the lack of steel manufacturing players in the country.

In 2022, the Philippines imported around $5.25 billion worth of steel.

“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,” the BoI said.

SteelAsia’s project is seen to offer an import-substitution strategy that will target the domestic market for the sale of the mill’s output.

Using electric arc furnace technology, the plant will manufacture 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,” the BoI said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile