Figures by Iran’s main metals and mining conglomerate IMIRDO shows the country boosted its output of sponge iron, a main steel ingredient, in the year to March amid efforts to prevent massive sales of iron ore to steel producers in Asia and elsewhere.
Iranian iron mills churned out a total of 30.52 million metric tons of sponge iron in the year to March 20, an increase of 9% compared to the previous calendar year, according to a Monday report by the official IRNA agency which cited IMIDRO figures.
The Mobarakeh Steel Company was responsible for a bulk of the production at nearly 7.3 million tons, said the report.
It added that production had risen by 9% to 2.676 million tons in the final months of the year compared to the month to late February.
Sponge iron or what is technically known as direct reduced iron (DRI) is a main feedstock used alongside steel scrap to produce various steel products in electric arc furnaces.
Iran is a leading producer of DRI in the world as it came second to India in 2019 with an annual production of nearly 28 million tons.
Iron mills had recorded a 6% increase in sponge iron output year on year on in late March 2019.
Increased output of steel ingredients has helped boost Iran’s own steel production amid government efforts in recent years to prevent rising iron ore sales to producers in other countries.
IMIDRO data suggests Iran plans to inaugurate seven major iron mills across the country in the year to March 2022 to add another 0.8 million tons of capacity to its DRI production.