KARACHI: South Korea former Ambassador to Pakistan Oh Jay-Hee said that his earnest desire in early 80s that POSCO from South Korea should come to Pakistan and invest in steel sector, has virtually become a reality in the shape of Tuwairqi Steel Mills Limited (TSML) in Karachi.
POSCO, being the most competitive steel producer of the world, with its global presence and a well-recognised reputation for its quality products, is now a potential partner of TSML and contemplating to invest more in forward and backward integration of the ongoing project.
Former South Korean Ambassador Oh Jay-Hee, who is also Korea-Pakistan Friendship Association Chairman, revealed these views while addressing professionals during his visit of TSML plant here.
Oh Jay-Hee, led by 13-member delegation, which includes five former ambassadors to Pakistan, is currently visiting Pakistan in a bid to enhance bilateral relationship between two countries and to explore new ventures and possibilities to improve trade, commerce and investment opportunities.
The delegation had already called on Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and was expected to meet Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore and Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad. While eulogizing government’s efforts in making Pakistan a developed country, he said he would be pleased if South Korea invests more in Pakistan especially in steel sector since “It is the steel which builds nations”.
The ambassador was briefed that despite a population of 180 million people, Pakistan is producing only around 4 million tons of steel per annum, as against 60 million tons by South Korea with a population of only 50 million people. As Pakistan is rich both in natural resource and human resource, he argued that there is no reason why the steel industry of Pakistan should also not come up to the international standards. So far it is at an exuberantly low level of per capita steel consumption in the world.
Impressed with the state-of-the-art technology of the DRI Plant of TSML, and the commitment and dedication of the TSML management and its team of professionals, he voiced his concern that the commercial issues, currently TSML is confronting with, may be addressed on priority by Government of Pakistan and plant be brought back to its normal production, he said adding that after TSML plant had been tested for its 100pc capacity out turn, there is a need to pour in more investment to make it one of the world class steel making complexes.
TSML Country Head/ Director Projects Zaigham Adil Rizvi, during presentation, gave details of the vision and mission of management for the revival, modernisation and further expansion plans of steel industry in Pakistan.
Zaigham apprised the delegation that the Government of Pakistan, through the Ministry of Industries and Production and Federal Board of Investment, was concerned on the commercial issues of the TSML and possible efforts were being made for an earliest solution to these issues on merit, so as to bring back plant into its regular production, which currently was in a shutdown mode.
He emphasised that an enabling business investment environment would definitely encourage sponsors to invest further in this project tentatively in the range of around $800 to 900 million as backward and forward integration of existing plant.
It is to be noted that first phase of TSML project has been completed with an overall investment of over $350 million.
Yoo Young-HO, Resident Director of POSCO, also expressed his concern and observed that further investment in TSML was evidently linked to commercial success of the ongoing project.
It is pertinent to note that early this year, TSML kicked off the commercial production of its Direct Reduction of Iron (DRI), with the capacity to produce up to 1.28 million tons per annum.
It is to be noted that TSML is the sole manufacturer of DRI in Pakistan with an avowed aim and objective to ultimately use its raw material from indigenous resources and produce value-added steel products, conforming to international standards. So far TSML is importing its large chunk of raw material from various countries but is striving hard to make the maximum possible use of the indigenous resources, specifically from Balochistan.