Financial Tribune – More than 310.7 million tons of mineral products were produced in Iran in the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2017), the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization announced in its latest report.
Iran is home to 68 types of minerals with over 37 billion tons of proven and 57 billion tons of potential reserves, including large deposits of coal, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromium, uranium and gold.
>Upstream Steel Sector
Iron ore concentrate had the biggest share in Iran’s mineral production during the period with 32.59 million tons, registering a 26.31% growth year-on-year.
Gologhar Mining and Industrial Complex accounted for 12.55 million tons of the total output, followed by Chadormalu Mining and Industrial Complex with 9.05 million tons, Iran Central Iron Ore Company with 4.08 million tons, Middle East Mines and Mining Industries Development Holding Company with 3.28 million tons, Goharzamin Iron Ore Company with 1.92 million tons and Opal Parsian Sangan with 1.68 million tons.
The above companies posted double-digit growth with the exception of Chadormalu, which registered a 3.81% uptick in production. MIDHCO had the highest growth with a 30.90% rise in output.
Estimated at 4.5 billion tons, Iran accounts for about 3% of global iron ore reserves with over 200 ore deposits.
Production of granulated iron stood at 5.93 million tons, down 16.33%. Sangan Iron Ore Complex was the biggest producer with 1.86 million tons, followed by Iran Central Iron Ore Company with 1.84 million tons, Iran Central Plateau Iron Ore Company with 744,300 tons, Jalalabad Iron Ore Company with 634,514 tons, Mishdavan Iron Ore Company with 481,093 tons and Chadormalu Mining and Industrial Complex with 359,825 tons.
Pellet had the second largest share among Iran’s mineral products last year with a total output of 25.8 million tons, up 17.31% year-on-year. Mobarakeh Steel Company was the largest pellet producer with 7.31 million tons, followed by Golgohar with 7.25 million tons, Khouzestan Steel Company with 6.08 million tons, Chadormalu with 3.68 million tons and Middle East Mines and Mining Industries Development Holding Company with 1.47 million tons.
MIDHCO spent most of the previous year increasing production capacity. Its pellet output capacity rose by an astonishing 740.08% during the period.
Direct-reduced iron came next, recording a 16.39-million-ton output, which shows an 8.62% rise. Mobarakeh had the lion’s share here by producing 6.59 million tons, followed by KSC with 3.68 million tons, HOSCO with 1.31 million tons, SKSCO with 1.14 million tons, Saba Steel Complex with 1.053 tons, Khorasan Steel Company with 1.051, Ghadir Iron and Steel Company with 856,323 tons and MIDHCO with 701,651 tons.
MIDHCO again topped the growth chart with a 98.37% rise in DRI output. The above companies posted growth in production for the year.
Iran is the world’s largest DRI producer. Also called sponge iron, DRI is produced from the direct reduction of iron ore (in the form of lumps, pellets or fines) to iron by a reducing gas or elementary carbon produced from natural gas or coal.
Downstream Steel Sector
Crude steel had the fourth largest share among Iran’s mineral products last year. Iranian steel mills produced 14.46 million tons of slabs, blooms, billets and ingots during the year, up 4.58%.
MSC was at the forefront with 7.46 million tons. KSC was next with 3.59 million tons, followed by Esfahan Steel Company with 2.24 million tons, Khorasan Steel Company with 660,889 tons, Iran Alloy Steel Company with 400,262 tons and Iran National Steel Industries Group with 98,323 tons.
Esfahan Steel and Iran National Steel Industrial Group were the only steel producers posting negative growths, 31.80% and 2.45% respectively.
Meanwhile, 10.05 million tons of steel products, including hot- and cold-rolled coils, rebar, beams, pipes and galvanized sheets were produced over the year, down 2.28%.
MSC and its subsidiary Saba Steel had the largest share of production here with 5.61 million tons, followed by ESCO with 2.054 million tons, Oxin Steel Company with 636,722 tons, Khorasan Steel Company with 532,518 tons, Azarbaijan Steel Company with 285,135 tons, IASCO with 267,533 tons, INSIG with 247,961 tons, Ahvaz Rolling and Pipe Mills Company with 217,614 tons and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari Automotive Sheet Company with 200,060 tons.
Mobarakeh, Azarbaijan Steel Company and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari Automotive Sheet Company were the only mills posting growth in the production of steel products.
MSC started the year ambitiously to boost exports. And it did succeed, up until the first half of the year when it found itself in a dispute with local consumers, especially the Construction Pipe and Profile Manufactures Association.
Accused of overcharging local buyers and shipping cheap steel abroad, MSC was officially given a notice by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade to focus on the domestic market.
Consequently, KSC replaced MSC to become Iran’s largest exporter of steel for the year by shipping 1.9 million tons of billet and slab, described as a “historical record” by KSC sales deputy, Bahman Tajallizadeh.
KSC cemented a foothold not only in Middle East and North Africa, but also managed to enter new markets such as Southeast Asia.
> Copper Sector
Copper mines operated by National Iranian Copper Industries Company extracted 154.20 million tons of copper oxide ore during the year, indicating a 3.25% drop.
Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex accounted for 70.99 million tons of the total amount. Sungun Copper Complex with 13.39 million tons and Miduk Copper Mine with 8.08 million tons came next. With the exception of Sungun, all the above mines recorded a decline in extraction.
The three mines’ sulfide copper ore extraction, however, was up 8.83% to reach 48.49 million tons, with all producers posting growth.
Copper concentrate was the main product manufactured in this sector. Output stood at 1.07 million tons recording a 9.51% rise. It was followed by copper anode with 225,075 tons, down 3.38%; copper cathode with 193,028 tons, up 1.23%; and molybdenum with 41,480 tons, up 0.82%.
Iran’s three major aluminum producers produced an aggregate of 293,988 tons of aluminum ingots last year to register a 1.38% decline.
Iran Aluminum Company produced 135,411 tons, Hormozal Aluminum Company 97,607 tons and Almahdi Aluminum Company 60,970 tons.
> Lead & Zinc
Major Iranian lead and zinc producers extracted 943,435 tons of ore during the past year. Angouran Lead and Zinc Complex accounted for 914,478 tons of the figure. Nakhlak Lead and Zinc Plant produced 28,957 tons.