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Libya: Steel Industry Overview

Growth in Libyan industrial capacity began in force only after 1969. After marking time for almost a year, the new government opted for a restricted industrial policy resembling the policies of Egypt and Algeria. The new policy leaned heavily on freeing industry, including manufacturing, from dependence on foreign ownership. 

Before 1980 the government concentrated on developing light processing and petrochemical industries. Other major manufacturing projects during the decade included textile complexes, a new oil refinery, two petrochemical plants, a fertilizer factory, and an electrical cable plant. Gains in value added from manufacturing over this period were impressive. In constant 1980 dollars, value added in manufacturing rose from US$196 million to US$760 million in 1983. Still, in terms of contribution to GDP, in 1983 manufacturing contributed only 4 percent of the total. In that year, an estimated 80,500 people worked in the manufacturing sector, about 7 percent of the total labour force.

Encouraging the development of heavy industry became a high priority for the government in the 1980s. The 1981-85 development plan called for the allocation of LD2.725 billion to heavy industry--15 percent of the total development plan allocation and second only to agriculture at 17 percent. 

Key heavy industrial developments under construction in the 1981-85 plan included an expansion of the ammonium/urea plant at Marsa al Burayqah, a new ethylene unit at Ras al Unuf, and the large iron and steel complex at Misratah. The Ras al Unuf ethylene plant was completed in 1986, and the other two projects were nearing completion in early 1987.

The Wadi ash Shati iron-ore deposit is apparently one of the largest in the world. Suitable in considerable part for strip mining, it outcrops in or underlies roughly 8 sqm of the valley. According to information in the mid-1980s, none of it was high-grade ore. Preliminary estimates suggest that the amount of 30 to 40 percent iron-content ore in the deposits totals anywhere between 700 million and 2 billion tons. Because of the distances and technical problems involved, profitable exploitation of the deposits would depend on the construction of a proposed railroad to the coast. Development of the deposits would allow Libya self-sufficiency in iron and steel, although probably at costs appreciably above those available on an import basis. In 1974 a state-owned company, the General Iron and Steel Corporation, was formed to exploit the deposits. The government hoped that the planned iron and steel manufacturing plant at Misratah, scheduled for completion in 1986, eventually would be able to exploit the Wadi ash Shati deposits. But the commercial viability of using these deposits was not assumed, since initial plans called for the Misratah works to be fed with imported iron-ore pellets.

Other scattered iron ore deposits in North-Western Tripolitania and Northern Fezzan were apparently insufficient to be commercially exploitable under current conditions. 

The Libyan Iron and Steel Company (LISCO) complex was designed to produce 1,324,000 tons of liquid steel annually adopting Direct Reduction / Electric Arc Furnace method utilizing natural gas as reductant of high quality pellets to produce Sponge Iron and Hot Briquetted Iron.

The complex consists of a Direct Reduction Plant, two Steel Melt shops, a three-line Bar and Rod Mill , a Light and Medium Section Mill , a Hot Strip Mill and a Cold Strip Mill with Galvanizing Line and a Coating Line. 

Direct Reduction Plant: Consists of three Midrex Direct Reduction modules two for DRI production with a total annual capacity of 1,100,000 tons and one modules for producing Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) with a capacity of 650,000 tons annually.

Steel Melt Shop No. 1: Consists of three electric arc furnaces 90 tons each, two Billet casters and a Bloom caster. The shop has a design capacity of 630,000 tons/year of Billets and Blooms.

Steel Melt Shop No. 2: Consists of three electric arc furnaces 90 tons each and two Slab casters. The shop has a design capacity of 611,000 tons/year of Slabs.

Bar and Rod Mills: Consists of two mills for producing Bars and a Double Strand Wire and Rod Mill. It has a design capacity of 800,000 tons/year of Bars and Rods.

Light and Medium Section Mill: This plant has a design capacity of 120,000 tons/year of Light and Medium Sections.

Hot Strip Mill: This plant has a design capacity of 580,400 tons/year of Hot Rolled Coils & Sheets.

Cold Rolling Mill: This plant has a design capacity of 140,000 tons/year of Cold Rolled Coils & Sheets.

A Galvanizing Line was added to the Mill to produce 80,000 tons/year of Galvanized Coils & Sheets, and a Color Coating line was also added to produce 40,000 tons/year of Coated Coils & Sheets.

Port and Pellet Stock Yard: The LISCO port is designed to receive 2,000,000 tons of raw material annually which will be transported via belt-conveyors to the pellet stock yard. It has an average depth of 15.5 meters and it can accommodate cargo ships of up to  tons capacity.

The pellet stock yard has a capacity of 550,000 tons and it contains two for receiving and storing of pellets .

Central Workshop :
The central Workshop is divided into three sections:
- Mechanical: Maintenance Workshop which is designed for disassembly and maintenance operations of all the equipments in the Complex.
- It is supplied with all kinds of turning , milling, drilling and grinding machines to be used in supplying the Complex with locally manufactured spare parts.
- Electrical: Maintenance Workshop which is designed for general and preventive maintenance operations for all electrical equipments in the Complex It is supplied with equipment for winding transformers, motors etc.
- A mobile equipment workshop for the maintenance of trucks, buses, cranes etc.

Iron ore mining in LibyaRequires Login - Access to MEsteel Members Only
Exporting DRI - Libyan Iron & Steel Company - 2006

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