Libya's Lisco to restart steel output in 4-6 weeks

Reuters, Wednesday 26 Oct 2011

Misrata-based steelmaker eyes is depending on a revitalised power supply and the return of its workers from the battlefield

Libyan state-owned steelmaker Lisco will resume steel production within the next four to six weeks, depending on restoration of electricity and the return of its workforce from fighting, the company said on Wednesday.

Power to Lisco's plants was cut off after the grid was damaged during Libya's civil war.

"There is currently enough electricity for steel production to partially resume," foreign marketing manager Ali Abumais told Reuters in a phone interview.

"The rolling mills are a priority. They use less electricity than the melting shops, and we have a stock of imported material to use while we wait for the furnaces," he said.

Electricity is not the only issue the Misrata-based steelmaker faces as it attempts to restart business. Much of its workforce is currently scattered, having left the plant to fight in the conflict.

Libya's new rulers declared the country freed from Muammar Gaddafi's 42 years of one-man rule, saying the "Pharaoh of the times" was in history's garbage bin and that a future of democracy and reconciliation beckoned.

"Hopefully everyone will come back after the holiday next week. We are putting out a call for the workers to return," Ali said.

6 November marks the beginning of the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha (Feast of the sacrifice) in Libya.

Lisco has a production capacity of more than 1.3 million tonnes of crude steel per year.

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