Bahrain-based Foulath plans to build 4 iron plants across the region in an attempt to become the main supplier of raw materials to the growing steel industry. Foulath’s proposed plants in Egypt, Bahrain and Oman would source iron ore from mines in Brazil and refine it into more than 30 million tonnes of iron pellets suitable for direct reduction. Two plants to be built in Alexandria and Suez in Egypt and one in Salalah, Oman will each produce 7 million tonnes of iron pellets annually. Engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the Salalah plant and one of the Egyptian plants would be awarded by the Q4 of this year, with a contract for the second plant in Egypt expected late next year. Foulath is also looking at getting involved directly in the mining business through buying stakes in mines in Brazil, Australia and Europe. The firm will target initial production of 20 million tonnes of ore per year.