STEEL company SteelAsia Manufacturing Corp. announced on Sunday that the steel beams manufacturing plant it is building in Lemery, Batangas is expected to start operations in 2023.

Considered as the country’s first steel beams manufacturing plant, the project, which broke ground in 2019, is seen to generate at least 1,500 direct jobs, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

“Construction of the two production lines — steelmaking and steel section rolling — was suspended due to the Covid-19 lockdown,” it noted.

The facility is estimated to have an annual capacity of about 1.1 million tons.

“It will produce products used in infrastructure and heavy construction including H/I beams, sheet piles, heavy angles and channels that are all currently being imported,” SteelAsia added.

Sections equipment manufacturer SMS of Germany and Fives (formerly Stein Huertey of France), which supplies reheating furnaces, provided the design and supplied the equipment for the project.

SteelAsia President Benjamin O. Yao said the facility will help the Philippines lessen its dependence on imported steel products.

“The Lemery Works steel plant is of national significance as it will reduce our reliance on imports for important steel products needed for the government’s ambitious infrastructure program,” he said.

SteelAsia, which currently has plants in Davao, Cebu, Misamis Oriental, Batangas, and Bulacan, also noted the new facility in Batangas will recycle steel scrap, which is currently being exported.

“When you export and process our resources abroad, it is creating jobs in another country,” Mr. Yao said.

“With this new plant, we will recycle our steel scrap here and generate local jobs,” he added.

Aside from its new project in Batangas, SteelAsia is also putting up plants in Compostela, Tarlac, and Quezon province. — Arjay L. Balinbin