EghtesadOnline: The upstream steel industry registered growth in the production of iron ore concentrate and pellet during the current fiscal year’s first nine months (March 21-Dec. 21) compared with last year’s corresponding period, latest data released by the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization showed.
The IMIDRO report takes into account the output of major producers, therefore the overall production should be higher than the figures quoted here.
Iron Ore Concentrate
A total of 38.66 million tons of iron ore concentrate were produced during the nine months, registering a 3% increase compared with the same period of last year.
According to IMIDRO, Golgohar Mining and Industrial Complex had the highest share of output by producing 12.61 million tons, which figure is 1% higher than that of the same period of last year.
Chadormalu Mining and Industrial Complex followed with 9.15 million tons (up 7% YOY), followed by Middle East Mines and Mining Industries Development Holding Company with 4.57 million tons (down 6% YOY) and Goharzamin Iron Ore Company with 3.41 million tons (up 2% YoY) of output during the period under review.
Other major producers included Iran Central Iron Ore Company with 2.98 million tons (down 4% YOY), SIMIDCO with 1.76 tons (down 3%) and Opal Parsian Sangan with 1.77 million tons (up 1% YOY).
Iron ore concentrate output during the ninth Iranian month (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) amounted to 4.26 million tons, registering a 3% decline compared with the same period of last year.
Golgohar was the leading producer during the month, accounting for 1.4 million tons of the monthly output and was followed by Chadormalu with 965,353 tons of monthly output.
The pellet output of major steel mills reached 39.21 million tons during the period, posting a growth of 13% compared with the same period of the previous year.
Golgohar was again the largest producer with 9.35 million tons (down 2% YOY), followed by Mobarakeh Steel Company with 5.15 million tons (down 8% YOY), MIDHCO with 4.43 million tons (down 9% YOY), Khouzestan Steel Company with 4.23 million tons (down 9%) and Sangan Khorasan Steel Company with 3.27 million tons (up 38%).
Other major pellet producers included Chadormalu with 2.76 million tons (unchanged YOY), Opal Parsian Sangan with 2.54 million tons (up 2% YOY) and Khorasan Steel Company with 1.18 tons (down 4% YOY).
Pellet production witnessed a 12% year-on-year increase during the ninth month of the Iranian year to 4.31 million tons, IMIDRO’s data show.
Golgohar had the lion’s share with 1.1 million tons of pellet output in the month under review.
Direct reduced Iron
The production of direct reduced iron stood at 22.04 million tons during the first seven months of the fiscal year, down 5% YOY.
Mobarakeh accounted for the largest share of the output with 5.12 million tons (down 13% YOY), followed by KSC with 2.57 million tons (down 14% YOY), Golgohar with 2.19 million (down 2% YOY), South Kaveh Steel Company with 1.3 million tons (unchanged YOY), Hormozgan Steel Company with 1.29 million tons (up 4% YOY) and Chadormalu Steel Company with 1.13 million tons.
DRI production reached 2.32 million tons during the ninth month of the current fiscal year, indicating a 14% decrease YOY.
Mobarakeh Steel Company produced 375,898 tons of DRI to lead the market during the seventh month. The company's monthly output declined by 43% compared with the previous year’s corresponding period.
DRI, also known as sponge iron, is produced from direct reduction of iron ore in the form of lumps, pellets or fines by a reducing gas. It can be processed to create wrought iron.
Iran and India are the world’s biggest producers of direct reduced iron. The former recently launched the first indigenous DRI plant in China.
MME (Mines and Metals Engineering GmbH), an Iranian engineering company registered in Germany, set up the first DRI production plant in the world's largest steel plant using the "Persian Reduction" method or PERED.
China, which ranks first in the world in steel production, mainly produces the energy-intensive DRI by blast furnace method, but with the aim of overcoming environmental challenges and using Iranian technical and engineering capabilities, the country has turned to PERED.
Using MME’s production technology, services and equipment, the company aims to increase its iron ore processing productivity and reduce emissions.
MME Managing Director Morteza Aqajani has enumerated PERED’s superior aspects to other iron reduction methods, in an article published on Iran Steel Producers Association’s news agency Chilanonline.com.
In PERED, the reduction process is more efficient, employs improved cooling methods and cuts polluting gas emissions. With less heat, more homogeneous reducing gas, more controllable pellet feed and use of centrifugal compressors, PERED requires less water, electricity and gas to operate, alongside less operational and maintenance costs.
PERED technology, which makes optimum use of energy and raw materials, reduces production costs with the added advantage of being more environment-friendly compared to other direct reduction methods.
According to MME’s website, PERED can produce cold and hot DRI, hot briquette iron (HBI) and the combination of all three.
Speaking to Financial Tribune in an exclusive interview in 2018, the engineering manager of MME, Hossein Aziztaemeh, explained that the contract with CSTM to import the Iranian technology was signed on May 13, 2013. However, the implementation of the project was delayed over the years due to several reasons.
"The Chinese did not find production of direct reduced iron economically viable, but things changed after the Chinese government imposed heavy taxes on ‘unclean’ industries," he said.
Therefore, they decided to move toward cleaner industries, as they seemed more viable.
The project was launched on June 21, 2021, in Taiyuan, the capital and largest city of Shanxi Province of China with a production capacity of 300,000 tons of HBI per year.
The furnace in this plant has been designed by MME and some of its main equipment were manufactured in Iran and exported to China.