The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has received an environmental impact assessment report for a proposed steel factory in Isinya, Kajiado County.
The proposed Masai Rolling Mills will set out to recycle scrap steel for rolling TMT (Thermo-Mechanically Treated) bars - a new variety of steel used in construction - and melting steel billets. TMT bars can be used as a substitute for CTD (Cold Twisted Deformed) bars for concrete reinforcement during construction.
The new mill, once operational, will battle with established steel manufacturers rollers who include Devki Steel Mills and Mabati Rolling Mills for a share of the market for steel construction materials. Devki has already diversified into cement manufacturing while MRM, whose galvanised sheets have become popular roofing materials across the country, has ventured into light steel roofing technology and tiles.
Kenya, which has a basic metal industry, imports steel billets, coils, wire and rods, steel plates, sheets, steel scrap and pig iron, according to investment authority KenInvest. It is estimated Kenya spends more than Sh60 billion every year on importation of iron and steel. The Industrialisation ministry said last year that the government was seeking a strategic investor to set up an integrated iron and steel mill in the country as part of ongoing industrialisation initiatives. Exploration by the Department of Mines and Geology established that Kenya has sufficient quantities of iron ore, coal and limestone that can sustain the development of steel manufacturing in the country.