THE coming new year will usher a fresh, new hope of job generation for the people of Northern Mindanao with the entry of a giant steel mill from China.
With an investment of $3.5 billion, Chinese steel company Panhua Group Co., Ltd. is poised to build a 305-hectare integrated steel manufacturing plant at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental Special Economic Zone.
Eyed for completion in six to seven years, the project is expected to generate 50,000 jobs.
The three-phase project, will consist of a port, an integrated steel mill with a capacity of 10 million tons, an industrial park, and other downstream industries.
And again the integrity of our local officials is tested with the entry of this giant steel manufacturer from China.
Back in 2008, a Korean steel firm, Hanjin Heavy Industries, has started building up its $2 billion shipyard facility inside Phividec only to be told later to pack up, and indeed, they packed up without notice and sent home their earth-moving equipment with a heavy heart.
Mindanao’s dream to host the biggest shipbuilding facility never materialized. Hanjin has transferred its shipbuilding facility in Subic, Zambales.
With the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Panhua and the PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority, the project, a completely private undertaking, is a realization of the government’s vision of reliving the integrated iron and steel industry in the country.
The Marcos-era National Steel Corporation (NSC) that made Iligan famous as the industrial city of the South is completely dead.
With several attempts of revival, the government-controlled corporation, marred by so many controversies, is hopelessly devoted to rust and junk shops nearby.
That said, Panhua will have to obtain first a PEZA registration and an environmental compliance certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and sign a memorandum of agreement to begin the construction of the project early next year.
With this development, the Panhua group is optimistic for the project to materialize with the government’s assurance to assist the Chinese firm in accomplishing business requirements for the immediate implementation of the steel plant.
The strategic location and existing facilities of the Phividec Industrial Estate like water and power has satisfied the Chinese investors to decide as the site of their steel plant project in the country.
Sans politicking, this giant China steel plant is seen to push Mindanao further of becoming an emerging economy in the next five years and beyond. (firstname.lastname@example.org)