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BHP Steel announces upgrade to metal coating plant in NZ

Tuesday 27th May 2003

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New Zealand Steel today announced capital expenditure of NZ$15 million to upgrade the Metal Coating Plant at the Glenbrook Steel Mill.

President New Zealand Steel, Mr Bill Jacob said: "BHP Steel has approved NZ$15 million capital expenditure over the next year to upgrade our Metal Coating Plant enabling us to produce an additional 24,000 tonnes of our premium metallic coated steel products a year. This will provide us with more than 10% increase in our current capacity and the flexibility to meet swings in market demand.

"Demand in the New Zealand domestic market and our core export markets is nearing current capacity and we see this upgrade as an important commitment to our customers and consolidation of New Zealand Steel's ability to service their future needs.

"This is a tremendous demonstration of BHP Steel's faith in the future of New Zealand Steel, and a tangible endorsement of our strategic direction," Mr Jacob said.

The Project involves modifications to the existing New Zealand Steel Metal Coating Plant to allow a range of products to run at higher line speeds, and consequently at higher throughput. The plant upgrade modifications include additional annealing capacity with commissioning planned for early 2004.

New Zealand Steel is one of New Zealand's largest employers and a business of BHP Steel Limited, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. BHP Steel is the leading steel company in Australia and New Zealand, supplying around 80 percent of all flat steel products sold in these markets.

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