Iran’s state miners raise output 10% over March-October 2012

State-owned mining operators in Iran produced about 18 million tonnes of iron ore in the first seven months of the country’s current year, according to the Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation Organisation (Imidro).

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This represents a 10.2% improvement over the corresponding period of the previous year, which in Iran begins on March 20.

Iron ore output over the first seven months last year was about 16.25 million tonnes, Imidro said.

Iran has been increasing its production of iron ore significantly in the past few years even though demand from local steelmakers is less than existing output, an economic adviser with a local miner told Steel First.

The surplus must be exported until such time as new steelmaking plants under construction in Iran come on stream, he explained.

The country exported about 16 million tonnes of iron ore in the last Iranian year, a volume which is likely to be repeated in the current year, he added.

“State-owned miners produced about 28 million tonnes of iron ore in the previous Iranian year,” the economic adviser said.

“We expect output of 30-31 million tonnes in the current year if local miners can maintain their production volumes over the remaining months,” he said.

“Iranian miners can expand their output by about 10-12% per annum in the next few years, which is more than enough to supply local plants,” he said. “In fact, iron ore processing may become a bottleneck in the future, especially at pelletizing plants.”

The processing of iron ore to feed steelmaking plants operating electric arc furnaces (EAFs) comprises the three steps of beneficiation, pelletizing and direct reduced iron.

Iran has developed beneficiation and DRI plants rapidly over the past few years. However, the construction of pelletizing plants has not progressed as quickly because the technology involved is more complicated than in the other two processing steps.