Iran has seen a nearly two-fold increase in its exports of sponge iron, a raw material mixed with scrap metal to produce steel, despite a 10-percent tariff imposed on the shipments last year.
A Thursday report by the IRNA news agency cited figures by the Iranian Steel Producers Association (ISPA) as showing that exports of sponge iron had surged in the 11-month period ending late February by some 86 percent.
The figures showed that iron mills across Iran had shipped a total 942,000 metric tons of sponge iron over the period, a significant increase compared to the similar period spanning 2018-2019.
Sponge iron exports in the previous calendar year had declined year on year by 25 percent, said the report.
The rising exports of the raw material comes despite a government move is September to impose a duty of 10 percent on sponge iron shipments to other countries. The tariff was aimed at preventing a shortage of sponge iron in the Iranian steel mills.
However, figures by ISPA showed that production of sponge iron in Iran had increased to near 25.5 million tons in the 11-month period ending late February, a surge of five percent compared to the previous year.
Domestic consumption of sponge iron in the Iranian steel mills also surged by three percent over the period, said the report.
Iran is only second to India globally in terms of the volume of sponge iron production. The country is the 10th largest steel producer in the world.
Sponge iron production in Iran is expected to increase by two million tons this year with the opening of a large mill in the southern province of Kerman.
That comes after three medium-sized mills with an annual capacity of 800,000 tons apiece were launched in the country last year.