In recent years, Algeria has transformed from an importer of iron and steel – especially reinforcing steel – into an exporter thanks to two factories, one of which is the result of a partnership between the Algerian government Cedar Group with a share of 46% and the “Qatar Steel International” company affiliated with Qatar Mining with a share of 49%, while 5% belongs to the National Fund. Algerian investment.
The Bellara iron and steel complex – whose investment cost exceeded two billion dollars – is considered one of the largest reduction units in the world, and it is classified as one of the largest industrial complexes in Algeria and Africa, and it is expected to compete globally when the production rate reaches 5 million tons annually, and the reduction unit is one of nine It includes the factory, with a production capacity of 2.5 tons per year of reduced iron.
Youssef bin Ahmed Al-Muhannadi, General Manager and CEO of the Algerian-Qatari Steel Company, confirmed to Al-Jazeera Net that the company is the largest Arab-Arab investment in the field of steel.
For his part, economist Mahfouz Kaoubi believes that the Algerian-Qatari steel company is among the “leading experiences in the Arab world, especially since the project is part of Algeria’s strategy to diversify the income of the economy by relying on the iron and steel industry, which is one of the strategic sectors in the country.”
The factory, located in the coastal region of Milia, in the state of Jijel, in eastern Algeria, entered production in December 2017, and was able to export $110 million worth of products, in addition to covering part of the local demand.
The Algerian Qatari Steel Company is considered one of the most important poles of the iron and steel industry at the local and regional levels, with a production capacity of two million tons annually of final steel products.
During the next phase, the company plans to double the production capacity to reach 4 million tons annually of iron products, according to the agreement concluded between Algeria and Qatar in 2022 to complete the second phase of the expansion of the “Bellara” steel complex.
The industrial complex of the Algerian-Qatari Steel Company (AQS) includes 9 production units based on advanced technology based on the principle of preserving the surrounding environment, while ensuring high production rates that comply with international quality standards.
The Algerian-Qatari Steel Company obtained a quality certificate of conformity for reinforcing steel products and coils of iron wire from the British Authority for the Accreditation of Steel Products Worldwide, which opens the global markets in front of it.
In addition to iron bars and coils of iron wire, the plant produces oxygen, nitrogen and argon through the gas separation plant. It also produces limestone and magnesium-rich lime.
Al-Mohannadi expects that with the launch of the second phase of the project, the factory will produce “new types of iron products to meet the needs of the local and international markets.”
Targeting global markets
The first goal of the Algerian-Qatari Steel Company was to meet the needs of the local market in Algeria in terms of reinforcing steel and iron coils. Thanks to the concerted efforts of all, Algeria achieved, for the first time in its history, self-sufficiency in steel, after this sector was costing the state treasury millions of dollars, according to specialists.
Economist Mahfouz Kawbi asserts that Algeria seeks, through this project, to “give added value to local production and qualify it to help in other industrial sectors such as the automobile industry.”
Kawbi pointed out that the start of exploitation of the “Gara Djebeilat” iron mine located in the southwest of the country will have a significant impact on the iron market internally and externally, due to its contribution to reducing the price of the raw material, increasing the competitiveness of products abroad and expanding export areas for Algerian iron.
The Algerian-Qatari Steel Company has worked to export the surplus of its products to the global markets, and the percentage of its exports is witnessing a rise and a great demand in the international markets thanks to the high quality of the products and competitive prices, which made the demand for its products increase in the American and European markets, the countries of Asia, and the continent of Africa, which is considered a strategic market. Whatever is in the company’s business plan.
Al-Muhannadi stressed that “the complex aims to exceed $300 million in exports during the current year 2023, after it reached $160 million last year.”
The official pointed out that the company exports “high-quality” products to European, African and Asian markets, while the United States of America has become “the company’s most prominent customer.”
Al-Mohannadi believes that