POSCO, the world's third-largest steel maker, is seeking approval from the Vietnamese government to establish a steel mill at a cost of $4.5 billion, state media reported on Monday.

The Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper quoted a POSCO proposal to the Vietnamese government as saying it would form a venture with dominant state shipbuilder Vinashin in which Vinashin will hold a 30 percent stake in the mill.

The hot-rolled steel mill, located in Van Phong Bay in the south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa, adjacent to a key transhipment port project, will be completed by 2010, the report said.

The group already started construction of a $1.13 billion cold-rolled steel plant, which is scheduled to begin production in 2009 in the southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.