Economy, Business And Markets

Japanese Delegation Eyes Chabahar Steel Projects

Japanese Delegation Eyes Chabahar Steel ProjectsJapanese Delegation Eyes Chabahar Steel Projects

A number of Japanese steel companies have shown interest in building steel plants near the port city of Chabahar in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, IRNA reported on Monday.

The requests were made during a visit by Japanese Ambassador to Iran Koji Haneda to the southeastern province, heading a delegation comprised of representatives of ten major Japanese corporations.

The Japanese companies have put forward proposals to cooperate in different sectors of Makran Steel Complex whose construction operation has just begun. According to the report, the Japanese firms have expressed interest in reducing water consumption in the steel plant and developing transit projects in the area, Chabahar Free Trade and Industrial Zone Organization reported.

"Developing marine, railroad and road transport projects in Chabahar would lay the groundwork to explore the capacities in the region. Japan pledges full cooperation with the Iranian side in implementing these projects", said Haneda, expressing hope that more Japanese trade delegations would travel to Iran in the near future.  

The Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization announced on Monday that a consortium composed of IMIDRO, Chabahar Free Trade and Industrial Zone Organization and private sector companies, had signed a contract to build a steel complex in Mokran to produce 3 million tons of steel annually. The complex will produce iron ore pellet with facilities for direct reduction, steelmaking, hot-rolling and rolling steel sections. The first phase of the complex will produce 1.6 million tons of sponge iron per year.

During the past year, many foreign companies have visited Chabahar Free Zone to establish steel plants or cooperate in related projects, at least four of which have officially registered companies and have been offered land to start construction projects.

The steel industry analysts believe Chabahar has numerous advantages for steelmakers including: easy access to international waters and iron ore reserves both inside the province and in neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, suitable demand in the regional markets, as well as abundant water resources, which are crucial for steel industries.

The previous administrations had launched a number of steel projects across the country, many of which were wrongly located in places with no or limited access to water. The administration has recently placed great emphasis on positioning the steel mills in coastal areas with abundant water resources.

"Chabahar Free Zone has great potential for investment in the steel sector. The government's special plans for the region have paved the way for both the Iranian private sector as well as foreign financiers to invest in the region", said managing director of Chabahar Free Zone, Hamed Ali Mobaraki.

According to the official, other major industrial plans to be established in Chabahar include petrochemical and auto manufacturing industries that require modern infrastructures for transportation of raw materials and finished products.

Mobaraki added that since a number of Japanese firms are in close cooperation with steelmakers in Isfahan and Khuzestan provinces to reduce water consumption in steel plants, they can also work with Chabahar steel companies to reduce water usage by 50%.