With the outlook on steel prices mixed, listed manufacturing firm TKC Steel Corp plans to have better control over its supply of steel by venturing into iron ore mining.
“We feel this is a complementary strategy to our business. We may decide (how to go about it) in the next few weeks,” TKC Steel president Anthony Dison said following the company’s stockholders’ meeting last Friday.
Dison said that TKC Steel does not have any mining claims but was open to forging partnerships with mining firms.
“There’s iron ore all over the place. For example, does it make sense to get the iron ore from Ilocos Norte (as an example) and ship it to Iligan (in Lanao del Norte where its billet plant is located)? These are the scenarios we are developing,” Dison said.
TKC Steel operates the steel billet plant in Lanao del Norte of the former National Steel Corp.
TKC Steel earlier said its steel products manufacturing subsidiary in Iligan City, Treasure Steelworks Corp (TSC), was negotiating with mining firm Vinc Vita Mining Corp to secure its supply of iron ore from Mindanao.
TSC is in talks with Vinc Vita for the rights to get iron ore, the basic raw material for TSC’s blast furnace projects.
Under the talks, Vinc Vita will supply up to 3 million metric tonnes of iron ore annually to TSC for the next five years.
Philippine Daily Inquirer sources said TSC was still negotiating for two more key agreements with Vinc Vita involving extraction of the iron ore.
TSC will further process the ore for use in its blast furnace and for possible export by parent firm TKC Steel.
Vinc Vita has been in the mining business for the past 20 years and also has nickel operations in Agusan del Sur.
TSC, on the other hand, operates the largest steel billet-making plant in the country in terms of installed capacity. Its blast furnace, which will be ready to start operations within the third quarter, will be able to produce 300,000 metric tonnes of iron a year.
Sky-high production costs, strong demand and tight supplies have pushed global steel prices to new highs so far this year, but a correction may be on the way toward the end of this year.
Global steel prices have soared by 40% so far in 2008 as an export tax in China has halted supplies out of the country, squeezing the world market.