ArcelorMittal S.A. and the Algerian state-owned company Sider have signed an agreement which includes the investment of $763 million for the steel complex at Annaba and the mines in Ouenza and Boukhadra to accommodate rising demands. The plan includes a project that would than double Annaba production to 2.2 million tons per annum (tpa) by 2017.

The agreement was signed by ArcelorMittal Holding AG Chair Sudhir Maheshwari and senior Sider exectives; the ceremony was attended by ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi N. Mittal and industry ministers. Algeria is the biggest country in North Africa and is more known for its vast natural gas reserves in its Saharan regions.   

The plan will see ArcelorMittal reduce its shares in both ArcelorMittal Annaba and ArcelorMittal Tebessa to 49%, with Algeirs holding the remaining 51% stake. The plan will be funded by both equity contributions from shareholders and bank financing.

This plan will ensure long-term future for steelmaking in Annaba and mining in Tebessa, said ArcelorMittal representatives, where the production unit will be modernized through the relining of its blast furnace, modernization of the sinter plant, the steel plant and the rolling mills.

Under the agreement, according to company officials, a new electric steel plant will also be built, including an electric arc furnace and continuous casting line; downstream units, in addition, will be reinforced with a new rolling mill for rebar and wire rod with a production capacity of one million tons.