THE government is pushing for the revival of National Steel Corp. (NSC) in line with the administration’s push for infrastructure and is looking for new sites like Phividec Industrial Authority in Misamis Oriental, Ramon “RJ” Jacinto, presidential adviser on Economic Affairs and Information Technology Communications, said on Wednesday.
“We’re looking into the revival of National Steel, but we have to get over the financial hurdle because of [NSC’s] loans with the banks. We need the cooperation of the banks. But we are also looking at new sites like the Phividec,” Jacinto said during the Infrastructure Congress and Expo Philippines.
The important thing is “we have to build that steel mill already while the President [Rodrigo Duterte] is in power because the other presidents don’t realize [its importance],” he said.
Reviving NSC will also require foreign investment for the technology aspect. “The money–maybe we can raise it here through the banks–but the technology, there has to be a foreign investor that has the technology [and that investor]has to have a stake in the steel mill,” Jacinto said.
“I would rather that the investors own most of it first, the foreign investors, then slowly transfer it to Filipinos,” he said.
SteelAsia Manufacturing Corp. earlier offered to acquire NSC in Iligan City but Jacinto noted that SteelAsia is only interested in a certain part of the land “so they can put a plate mill and structural steel mill” there.
Jacinto admitted that there is not much iron ore mining in the country, which is needed to support steelmaking. “We have not developed the mines because there are no steel mills to buy it,” Jacinto said.
He said Taiwan, Japan and South Korea have no iron ore but they have the most modern steel mills.
“So you don’t really need to source iron ore from your own country. It’s cheap enough to ship it from Australia. But what we really need to do is build the finished products here,” Jacinto added.