HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- Work has begun on what will be Vietnam's largest steel plant, part of a $1.7 billion complex that will include a deep-sea port, state-media reported Monday.
The complex, located in central Ha Tinh province and run by Taiwan's Formosa Heavy Industry and Cayman island-registered Sun Steel Corp. will have an initial annual capacity of 7.5 million tons of steel, the Vietnam Economic Times said.
Formosa holds 95 percent of the project, while Sun Steel holds the remaining 5 percent, the paper said.
Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said at a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday that when the complex is finished in three years it is expected to be one of the region's largest and will help strengthen the country's economy.
The government said on its Web site that the plant will import iron ore for its operation and will eventually also use iron ore from Thach Khe mine in the province.
The Thach Khe mine, some 250 miles south of Hanoi, has an estimated reserve of 540 million tons of iron ore.
The complex's capacity will be doubled to 15 million tons a year in the second phase, the newspaper reported.