Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has inaugurated the country’s largest iron ore pellet plant in the central city of Bafgh as his government moves ahead with plans to expand Iran’s largely untapped mining and metals sector.
Rouhani opened the Sechahun pelletizing plant, located in the province of Yazd on the border with Kerman province, using a video conference call on Monday.
“Today, the very significant pelletizing project which is a very modern project and in fact one of most modern pelletizing plants in the country has been inaugurated with an investment value of 90 trillion rials ($360 million),” said Rouhani during the inauguration ceremony.
However, a report by the official IRNA news agency said the plant, constructed in five years by a consortium of Iranian, Chinese and Japanese companies, has cost 1.855 billion yuans (nearly $285 million).
With five million metric tons of annual output for iron ore pellets, Sechahun is now Iran’s largest pelletizing complex. Its nominal capacity is 17,000 tons per day and it will feed on iron ore extracted from a major nearby mine and other reserves.
Some 788 workers and technicians will be permanently employed in the plant which has been described by local officials in Yazd as the largest economic project launched in the province in recent years.
Rouhani opened the Sechahun plant during a weekly drive to launch major projects in the country to boost manufacturing and to create jobs.
Total projects rolled out on Monday created some 13,000 jobs in manufacturing, social services and tourism sectors, his website said.
Activity in Iran’s largely untapped mining and metals sector has boomed in recent years in light of government efforts to diversify the economy away from crude to reduce the harms of foreign sanctions on oil exports.