Economy, Business And Markets

Potential to Triple Steel Smelting Capacity

Potential to Triple Steel Smelting CapacityPotential to Triple Steel Smelting Capacity

The minister of industry, mine, and trade says the completion of unfinished projects in the steel sector will enable the country to increase its steel smelting capacity from the current rate of 17 million metric ton a year to 55 million, Fooladnews reported.  

Mohammad-Reza Nematzadeh made the remarks during a ceremony to inaugurate an alloy steel plant in the northwestern city of Bonab. The minister described the steel industry as the main body of the industrial and mineral sector, wherein “the private sector should play a more prominent role.”

Criticizing excessive export of raw materials such as iron ore and iron ore concentrate, the minister reiterated that raw materials should be domestically used to create value-added products.

“Lack of infrastructure in iron ore and smelting sectors has rendered some rolling mills inactive”, said Nematzadeh, adding that once the steel production chain achieves equilibrium, iron ore producers will not have to export their products because domestic demand is high. The minister lamented that rolling mills are currently working at only half of their 33-million-ton capacity.

In line with the policies pursued by President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, the industry ministry has so far allocated $2.26 billion to seven steel projects, said Nematzadeh, calling for more investment in such projects, where private investors can assume between 65% and 80% ownership.

The minister also urged the parliament to provide more support for steel projects, stressing that the country’s mineral and steel sector has a brilliant future. He said since the current administration came to power, it has focused its efforts on boosting the mining and mineral industries.

A strategic exploration operation has been recently launched by the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) in cooperation with the Geological Survey of Iran to survey 200,000 square kilometers of the country’s soil is search of new mineral resources. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran will also contribute to the operation by exploring some 100,000 square kilometers of land and extracting radioactive minerals to be used in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear energy program.

The minister also said several rounds of meeting have been held with the private sector companies that can supply the mining sector with machinery and equipment. He also called on banks to comply with the regulations, based on which they are required to accept the mining licenses as the loan guarantees.