On 15 June, Valin ArcelorMittal AutomotiveSteel Co (VAMA) officially opened its new US$852 million advanced automotivesteel plant in China.
The joint venture between ArcelorMittal,the world's largest steel company, and Hunan Valin Iron & Steel Co, willproduce high-strength automotive steels that are currently imported, for theChinese market.
The new facility is located in the economiczone of Loudi, Hunan Province. It is built on a greenfield site and is one ofthe major investment projects jointly approved by China’s National Developmentand Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce.
The new plant took over two years toconstruct and employs more than 2,000 workers. It was completed on scheduleand, having achieved more than six million safe work hours, is claimed to beone of the safest steel projects in China.
The new plant will initially provide morethan 600 high-skilled jobs and there are plans to create more jobs asproduction increases.
China recorded a 16% increase in car salesto 18 million units last year, and is expected to account for 35% per cent ofworldwide automotive growth between now and 2020.
VAMA's production output will meet rapidgrowth in demand for advanced automotive steels in China. The annual productioncapacity will be 1.5Mt, including 800kt of cold rolled coil, 200kt ofaluminium-coated coils and 500kt of hot-dip galvanised coil. VAMA covers alarge range of automotive steel products, including those for visiblestructural parts, chassis and wheels.
According to ArcelorMittal, VAMA aims tosupply international carmakers and Tier 1 suppliers as well as promote high-endsolutions to domestic car manufacturers and their supplier networks. Theseinclude ArcelorMittal’s major customers in China, such as Volkswagen, GM, Ford,PSA, Daimler-Benz, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Renault, Fiat and Nissan, as well asleading domestic manufacturers such as Geely, Chery, Dongfeng, Guangzhou Auto, ShanghaiAuto and Changan.
At the opening ceremony, Lakshmi Mittal,chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, said the completion of the major projectwith six million safe work hours, on schedule and within budget was a“remarkable achievement which sets a new standard in our industry.”
Cao Huiquan, chairman andCEO of Hunan Valin Steel said that the VAMA project was an important milestonefor Hunan Valin to transform from a regional niche producer to a full serviceprovider. "The success of VAMA relies on the highest efficiency from ValinLYS, to VAMA, to downstream steel service centres, to automotive end-users.Following the example of a small number of Sino-foreign automotive steel jointventures in China, both Valin and ArcelorMittal are inspired to build a profitableand sustainable VAMA that can become the pride of Hunan Province and theChinese steel industry," he said.