Iran was the second largest global producer in 2020 of sponge iron, a pre-reduced ferrous material used to make steel, according to latest figures by the World Steel Association (worldsteel).
The figures cited in a Monday report by Iran’s state-run metals conglomerate IMIDRO showed that sponge iron production in the country reached 30.2 million metric tons last year, up 5.96% against 2019.
That puts Iran only second to India at 33.6 million tons of sponge iron output in 2020, said IMIDRO report.
Sponge iron, or what is technically known direct reduced iron (DRI), accounts for a bulk of the feedstock used in the Iranian steel mills.
Worldsteel figures showed Iran’s raw steel production totaled 29 million tons last year, making the country the 10th largest steel producer in the world in 2020.
IMIDRO and its subsidiary steel makers churned out a total of 18.9 million tons of steel last year as the company became the 18th largest steel producing firm in the world, showed the figures.
Iran has continued to develop its massive metals industry by investing more in mines and building new mills and smelters across the country in recent years.
That has come despite US sanctions targeting the country’s metals trade since 2019.
Government authorities are now boasting of a higher role for minerals in Iran’s non-crude exports, saying the country is gradually moving away from sheer reliance on oil revenues by building out its metals sector.
Government estimates suggest Iran could reach an annual steel output of 55 million tons by 2025.