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Iranian prospect

The Decade of Iron

According to Iran’s Fifth Development Plan, Iran’s steel and iron production is bound to reach ۳۶ million and ۹۲ million tons in ۲۰۱۴ respectively, while the production volume of crude steel in ۲۰۱۳ was only ۱۵.۶ million tons and iron ore production did not exceed beyond ۴۴.۵ million tons; a significant gap between the intended and the real capacity of production.

According to Iran's Fifth Development Plan, Iran's steel and iron production is bound to reach 36 million and 92 million tons in 2014 respectively, while the production volume of crude steel in 2013 was only 15.6 million tons and iron ore production did not exceed beyond 44.5 million tons; a significant gap between the intended and the real capacity of production. Furthermore, according to the country's development agenda, the production of steel and iron ore will have to reach 45 million and 115 million tons by 2025 respectively. Global statistics suggest that the 2950 million tons of iron ore were produced in 2013, 1320 millions of which belonged to China. Australia (530 million tons), Brazil (398 million tons), India (150 million tons) and Russia (102 million tons) stand among the five biggest producers of iron ore in the world while Ukraine (80 million tons), South Africa (67 million tons), the US (52 million tons), Canada (40 million tons) and Iran (37 million tons) are ranked 6-10.

A 20-Million-Ton Surplus of Iron ore
Metal Bulletin explored Iran's new situation and perspective following the Geneva talks in a comprehensive report published last December under the headline "Iranian Prospects". Regarding the market of iron ore and steel of the country, the report says: "Production of state-owned mines in Iran has seen a three-fold increase over the last ten years. Through the past Iranian year, the government managed to produce 29.5 million tons of iron ore out of these mines. According to Iranian Mine and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO), the production of the country's iron ore in 2002-2003 hovered around 10.5 million tons. Considering the 12-percent year-on-year growth of Iranian iron ore market, it is absolutely possible for Iran's government to maximize the extraction of iron ore from its mines to as much as 55 million tons. There is no official report on the volume of iron ore extracted from Iran's state-owned mines, but rough estimates suggest an approximate 10-million-tons-a-year volume and the number can easily reach 15 million tons within the next five years, whereas Iranian steel producers need no more than 22-23 million tons of iron ore a year. Thus, it can be concluded that Iran is faced with an annual surplus of 20 million tons of iron ore."

Iron ore Production Capacity
Esfahan Steel Company with producing 3.6 million tons of steel and Zarand Iranian Steel Company with 1.7 million tons of still per year use blast furnace for the production of steel, while other Iranian steel producers use DRI (Direct Reduced Iron) method. Currently, the production of iron ore concentrate is around 20 million tons and the production of iron ore pellets is estimated at 20 million tons. According to Metal Bulletin report, considering Iran's comprehensive development plans, the country can manage to increase its steel production as much as 10 percent over the next few years. There is no denying that lifting or alleviating the sanctions against Iran will significantly boost the development of steel projects and maximize the country's steel production as much as 15 percent. Iran's crude steel production will reach 22 million tons by 2017 with a minimum growth rate of 10 percent, while more optimistic predictions suggest a 15-percent increase in the volume of steel production to as much as 26 million tons by the next three years.
Numbers and statistics indicate that Iran produced 38 million tons of iron ore in 2013, 17.2 million tons of which was exported and 19.2 million tons was produced in the form of pellets. This amount of iron ore was extracted from 99 mines. The definite volume of iron ore reserves in Iran is reported at around 2.3 billion tons. Khorasan Razavi, Isfahan, Zanjan, Semnan, Fars, Kerman, Markazi, Hormozgan, Yazd and Kurdistan are the most iron ore-rich provinces of Iran. Among the ten leading producers of steel in the world, only Russia, Mexico, the US, South Africa and Iran possess the three principal elements of steel including iron, energy and water. In other word, possessing these three elements all-together has given Iran the relative advantage in the steel market. The second driving force behind Iran's thriving steel industry is the excess of iron ore reserves, as the number is estimated to be around 4.5 billion tons, 2.5 tons of which is located in Markazi, Golgohar and Sangan. Steel is the final product of iron ore in Iran. While steel is presently considered as a major strategic product in the world, it is expected that aluminum and copper will become increasingly popular through 2020-2030, but Iran can rest assured that iron ore and steel markets will remain attractive for domestic and foreign investments for the years to come.

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