China’s Kunming Steel has entered into an initial agreement to build a 4mn t/yr steel plant in Myanmar (Burma), which, if completed, will be the country’s first integrated mill.

Yunnan-based Kunming Steel plans to build the blast furnace-based plant in two phases of 2mn t/yr each, along with sintering, coking and power generation facilities. The product profile of the mill will include hot-rolled coil, rebar and wire rod.

The plant will aim to supply steel into the import-dominated Myanmar market and export any surplus to neighbouring countries. Steel imports into Myanmar have been around 2mn-3mn t/yr since 2014. The project is part of China’s Belt and Road initiative in southeast Asia and part of efforts to expand links between Yunnan and southeast Asia.

Myanmar’s steel demand is forecast to be around 3mn t in 2020 and 5mn t in 2025, driven by construction sector demand, according to the South East Asia Iron and Steel Institute. The bulk of the country’s steel demand is for rebar.

Myanmar’s total production capacity was less than 1mn t/yr as of February 2019, with around 400,000 t/yr capacity of billet production and around 500,000-600,000 t/yr of long steel rolling capacity. Coated sheet capacity is around 300,000-500,000 t/yr.