Nippon Steel Corporation announced that its joint-venture WINSteel with WISCO in Wuhan, China is now undergoing an expansion which will double capacity by the end of next year.

The total investment will be approximately RMB1.85bn (US$290M), and includes building a continuous annealing and processing line and an electrolytic tinning line. In addition to these facilities, WINSteel will also lease a continuous descaling and cold-rolling mill, a continuous annealing and processing line, and one electrolytic tinning line concurrently under construction by WISCO and to operate them integrally with the WINSteel lines. With this expansion, WINSteel’s production and sales capacities will be 400kt/y of tinplate and 400kt/y of tin mill black plate, twice the present scale. This will make WINSteel next only to BaoSteel in China in output of tinplate. According to Nippon Steel, some of the main facilities have already started to be built and all the lines are scheduled to be put into operation successively in from September to December 2013.

With growing populations and rising living standards in new emerging nations, the demand for tinplate used for food cans, beverage cans and other containers has been growing on a global basis. Nippon Steel forecasts that tinplate consumption in China will reach 2.9Mt in 2012 and 4.2Mt by 2017. Consequently, China’s tinplate capacity is experiencing fast growth, with most new projects being built in northern China. Since 2011, about 2.55Mt/y of tinplate capacity has started construction in China, of which over 60%, or roughly 1.6Mt/y, is in north China. From 2011 to now, newly commissioned projects and projects under construction total 3.2Mt/y.
Source: China Metals e-mail