Economy, Domestic Economy

Steel Expansion Plan Needs More Ferrosilicon

On average, 3 to 5 kilograms of ferrosilicon are required to produce a ton of steel.On average, 3 to 5 kilograms of ferrosilicon are required to produce a ton of steel.

Ferrosilicon production is an integral part of the steel industry and its downstream sectors. Iran is currently producing nearly enough of the raw material to feeds its furnaces, but the ambitious expansion plan it follows will require more and more of the alloy in the next few years.

On average, 3 to 5 kilograms of ferrosilicon are required to produce a ton of steel. And Iran is aiming to become the world’s sixth largest steelmaker by boosting output capacity to 55 million tons by 2025.

The expansion is part of the country’s so-called 20-Year Vision Plan (2005-25).

The industry is fairly new to Iran, as it was first established in the early 90s. Currently, three large-scale plants produce the alloy in Iran. Before that, Iranian steelmakers imported nearly all their 38,000-ton demand for ferrosilicon, Foolad News reported.

As an alloy of iron, ferrosilicon is used as a source of silicon to reduce metals from their oxides and to deoxidize steel and other ferrous alloys. This prevents the loss of carbon from the molten steel.

The alloy is also used in the manufacture of silicon, corrosion-resistant and high-temperature resistant ferrous silicon alloys, and silicon steel for electromotors and transformer cores.

In the manufacture of cast iron, ferrosilicon is used for inoculation of iron to accelerate graphitization. In arc welding, ferrosilicon can be found in some electrode coatings.

Iran Ferro Alloy Industries Company is the largest and oldest of the three. It was established in 1993 in Lorestan Province with the initial output capacity of 25,000 tons per year and is currently capable of producing 60,000 tons of the material.

The other two are Iran Ferrosilicon Company in Semnan province with a 25,000-ton capacity and Ferosilis Gharb Pars Company in Hamedan Province with a 12,000-ton capacity.

With an estimated production capacity of 90,000 tons, Iran is Middle East and North Africa’s second largest ferrosilicon producer after Egypt. Considering the country’s cheap energy prices and an abundance of mineral reserves and zones yet to be explored and exploited, expanding the ferrosilicon industry appears to be an achievable target.

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