Iran's minister of industry, mine and trade says the country is planning to increase its steel exports to 10 million tons a year by attracting new investments in the sector.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of an iron smelting plant in Iranian city of Shahroud, Mohammad Reza Ne’matzadeh said on Thursday that the country exported 2.5 million tonnes of steel during the preceding Iranian calendar year (ended March 20, 2014), “despite the fact that we were importing steel in previous years.”
He added that the Iranian administration has plans to boost steel exports to 10 million tonnes a year by attracting new investments in the sector, thus, turning into a major steel export hub in the region.
Emphasizing that steel production is among the most important industries in the country, Nematzadeh said, “At present, the country is producing about 18,000 tonnes of steel and through adequate investment, this figure can increase to 50 million tonnes in 10 years.”
He added that Iranian industries should invest in processing of raw materials and exporting final product in order to totally end export of raw materials from the country.
Shahroud iron smelting plant is expected to be commissioned within the next two years, creating 240 direct jobs.
In early February, Nematzadeh was quoted by the Iranian daily Ebtekar as saying that USD 2.2 billion had been allocated to funding seven new steel projects across the country.
On Wednesday, Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization, IMIDRO, announced that Iran’s raw steel output has increased by nearly 10 percent in the first quarter of the current year.
It added that Iran produced over 4 million tonnes of raw steel in the first three months of 2015, showing a 9.6-percent increase compared to the same period last year.
The organization noted that Iran’s sharp steel production growth came at a time when the global output of the metal decreased by 1.8 percent during the same period.
According to a report by the World Steel Association (WSA), Iran is the largest producer of crude steel in the Middle East and Africa and ranks 14th in the world.
Iran is among the 15 major mineral-rich countries of the world and exports its industrial and mineral products to more than a hundred countries.