ArcelorMittal announced a major $1 billion, three-year investment program for its Mexican operations, which is focused on building ArcelorMittal Mexico’s downstream capabilities, sustaining the competitiveness of its mining operations and modernizing its existing asset base. The program is designed to enable ArcelorMittal Mexico to meet the anticipated increased demand requirements from domestic customers, realize in full ArcelorMittal Mexico’s productive capacity of 5.3 million metric tons (mt) and significantly enhance the proportion of higher value-added products in its product mix.

The main investment will be the construction of a new hot strip mill. Construction will take approximately three years and, upon completion, will enable ArcelorMittal Mexico to produce about 2.5 million mt of flat rolled steel. Coils from the new hot strip mill will be supplied to domestic, non-auto, general industry customers. Further investments will be made at Lázaro Cárdenas to improve the quality and productivity of the asset base, with additional investment in the group’s Mexican mining operations.

The announcement follows confirmation that the Mexican government has established five Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in southern Mexico to attract infrastructure investment in areas of undeveloped economic potential. Lázaro Cárdenas, home to ArcelorMittal Mexico’s primary steelmaking operations, was named an SEZ.

ArcelorMittal Mexico currently produces about 4 million mt of steel per year. Following completion of the investment program, production would be optimized to roughly 5.3 million mt/y, with the proportion of finished steel for the domestic Mexican market significantly expanded. Flat rolled steel production would total 2.5 million mt/y, long steel 1.8 million mt/y with the remaining 1 million mt made up of semi-finished slabs.