ArcelorMittal announced that it is to restart an expansion project at its Monlevade and Juiz de Fora sites in Brazil, which will increase production capacity 31% from 3.75 to 4.9Mt/y.

CFO Aditya Mittal explained: "We now see that demand is coming back in Brazil; it is slower than we had anticipated but it is coming back and that is why we have restarted the wire rod mill expansion which is a US$180M project.”

The expansion was first announced in 2007 but paused in 2009 due to the economic crisis and weak demand. The project is expected to be completed in two phases with the first phase (investment in which has now been approved) focused mainly on downstream facilities. Start-up is expected in 2015. The upstream portion of the investment remains on hold.

Monlevade will produce 1.05Mt/y of coil thanks to a capex investment of US$140M. Rebar capacity at Juiz de Fora will also be increased from 50000 to 400000 tonnes a year and the site's melt shop will produce an extra 200kt/y of billet using a new ladle and adding a sixth strand to the continuous caster.

The additional output of wire rod from Monlevade is aimed at increasing the supply of high added value products mainly to the domestic construction and automotive industries. Juiz de Fora's additional rebar is expected to go into downstream cut and bend operations and to civil construction end users.