Economy, Business And Markets

Raw Material Boost for Steel Industry

Raw Material Boost for Steel IndustryRaw Material Boost for Steel Industry

Iron ore concentrate production during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 21-November 21) hit 16.85 million metric tons, indicating a 5% increase compared to the same period in the previous year, IRNA reported Tuesday.

According to a report released by the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO), the bulk was produced by the country’s five major manufacturers of iron ore concentrate, including Chadormalou, Golgohar, Markazi, Middle East Mines Industries Development Holding Company (MIDHCO), and Sangan.

During the period, some 7.4 million metric tons of iron ore pellets was also produced by eight different companies, showing a 3% growth compared to the similar period last year, the report continued.

The administration has included in its strategic plan for steel sector stresses that the country annually needs to produce at least 6 million metric tons of iron ore pellets, which is considered as the key raw material for steel production process. After finishing the extraction stage, iron ore is processed into iron ore concentrate and then turned into pellets, which typically contain between 67% and 72% ferrous.

Government officials say by the end of the 20-year Vision Plan (2025), Iran is expected to produce at least 52 million metric tons of crude steel per annum. Such increase in 11 years from the current annual 18 million metric tons does not seem realistic, because it will require a giant leap in extraction of the iron ore as well as production of raw materials such as iron ore concentrate, iron ore pellets, and coke.

While Iran’s iron ore mines export a considerable portion of the raw material under the current circumstances, the officials claim that when the national comprehensive steel plan is completed within the next few years, the entire domestically-produced iron ore would be consumed by Iranian producers of iron ore pellets and iron ore concentrate. Currently, over 90% of the mines across the country are run by the private sector, while more than 8% are operated by cooperatives and the remaining are state-owned, based on officials statistics provided by the ministry of industry, mine and trade.

Based on the same statistics, some 70% of the 7,897mines across the country are active, 26% are inactive, and the rest are being repaired or equipped. The total mineral reserves held in the Iranian mines have been estimated to be over 43 billion metric tons, putting Iran among the world’s top ten in this regard.  According to the ministry of industry, mine and trade, over 420 million metric tons of minerals were extracted from 5,400 active mines during the Iranian calendar year 1392 (ended March 20, 2014), while, by the end of the Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (March 20, 2016), the annual mineral extraction should reach 570 million metric tons.