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Government miners produced 23.7 million tonnes of iron ore compared with 18.5 million tonnes over the corresponding period last year, Imidro said. The Iranian year starts on March 20.

The bigger Iranian iron ore miners have been increasing their production steadily over the past few years to meet demand from local steel plants.

Iranian miners, both state-owned and private, produce around 40 million tpy of iron ore. Any surplus is exported via traders.

Iran exported about 16 million tonnes of iron ore in the last Iranian year, according to Iranian customs data.

Iran has a short-term target to raise its production of crude steel to 30 million tpy over the next two or three years.

There is also a long-term target for production to reach 55 million tpy of crude steel within the next 10-12 years.

To produce 30 million tonnes of crude steel, Iran will need to produce 50-55 million tonnes of iron ore, while production of 55 million tonnes of crude steel will require a supply of about 90 million tonnes of iron ore.