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Eastern Slovakia steels itself for new mills

TWO new steel mills are at the planning stage in eastern Slovakia. Slovakia Steel Mills plans to start building a new factory in the unused premises of Chemko in Strážske in the summer, while Košice-based SSIM company recently submitted to the Environment Ministry plans to build a new plant in Mokrance, close to Košice, the Hospodárske Noviny financial daily wrote.

TWO new steel mills are at the planning stage in eastern Slovakia. Slovakia Steel Mills plans to start building a new factory in the unused premises of Chemko in Strážske in the summer, while Košice-based SSIM company recently submitted to the Environment Ministry plans to build a new plant in Mokrance, close to Košice, the Hospodárske Noviny financial daily wrote.

The paper reported that originally there had been a single plan to build a steel-making plant. Competition between two former co-workers has since resulted in two identical plans.

Both projects count on investment of up to Sk5 billion and would employ approximately 500 people.

Aksam Barakat, a businessman prominent during the Július Rezeš era at the VSŽ steel mill (now U.S. Steel Košice), is behind the planned steel mill in Mokrance. Last year he worked for about one month for Slovakia Steel Mills in Strážske but left the company after a series of disputes. His plan would see a new steel mill with an annual capacity of 500,000 tons built on a green-field site in a village close to U.S. Steel Košice.

The second company, Slovak Steel Mills, submitted its plan for a plant to the Environment Ministry in late 2007. The brown-field location in which the steel mill would be built is regarded as suitable for the project.

Hospodárske Noviny quoted experts who say that building two steel companies producing the same range of rolled wire and iron bar products would be nonsensical.

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