The leading Japanese steelmaker, Kobe Steel, will build the first full-scale steel mill in Vietnam to satisfy the country's high demand for steel products, local media reported on April 2.

The Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) quoted sources close to the company said that the steelmaker was granted permission on April 1 to build a 1-billion-dollar iron and steel mill in Vietnam's central province of Nghe An. Kobe Steel is planning to start operations in 2013, with initial production of one million tonnes, and eventually increase annual production to 2 million tonnes.

According to the NHK, Vietnam welcomes the new mill that can produce high-purity iron nuggets from locally mined low-purity iron ore. The country produces 9 million tonnes of iron ore each year, but because of its low purity, Vietnam has to import a lot of steel products.

Kobe Steel plans to sell products from this mill in Vietnam , export them to Japan , and eventually grow markets in other Asian countries./.