VAMA, ChinaChina – Valin ArcelorMittal Automotive Steel (VAMA), the joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Hunan Iron & Steel, will produce high-strength automotive steels for the Chinese market from its location in the economic zone of Loudi, Hunan Province.

The greenfield project, involving an investment of 5.2 billion yuan ($832m), was approved by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce and took two years to complete. In operation, the plant will require a skilled workforce of 600, with plans for this to increase along with production. The annual capacity is 1.5m tons, including 800,000 tons of cold-rolled coils, 200,000 tons of aluminium-coated coils and 500,000 tons of hot-dip galvanised coils.

ArcelorMittal has provided the latest automotive steel production technology, covering advanced and ultra-high-strength steel (AHSS and UHSS) grades with levels of up to 1,200 MPa and Usibor 1500P for hot stamping. In addition, the steel and mining company has assisted with the completion of quality control and R&D systems. Major ArcelorMittal customers in China, such as VW, GM and Geely, will also be a target for VAMA, which aims to supply both international and domestic carmakers, plus tier one suppliers.

Cao Huiquan, chairman and CEO of Hunan Valin Steel, commented that the VAMA project would help Valin to “transform from a regional niche producer to a full service provider”.

Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, said VAMA was now “ideally positioned to give auto manufacturers greater flexibility to produce lighter, safer and more environmentally-friendly cars for customers in China”.