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MSC will supply steel sheets needed by automakers

More than 150 domestic companies from provinces such as Tehran, Isfahan, Kerman, East Azerbaijan, Fars, Markazi, Qom and Khorasan Razavi along with foreign firms and the representatives of international corporations attended the 10th edition of an International Exhibition of Steel, Metallurgy and Foundry in Isfahan.
Mobarakeh Steel Group and other steelmakers had a strong presence in the event which was held in 33 pavilions on an expanse of land 8,000 m3 in area on Isfahan International Fairground.
The exhibition put on display the latest achievements in areas such as foundry, production of steel, cast iron and non-ferrous metals, machinery and related industrial equipment, industrial treatment facilities and metallurgy industry services and metal forming.
Having overtaken France and Britain in recent years, Iran is now the world’s 14th largest steelmaker.    
Steel sector accounts for over 22% of Iran’s non-oil exports
In the opening ceremony of the exhibition, the deputy minister of industries, mines and trade said that the value of exported products in the steel chain and mining industry stood at $9 billion last year, adding this sector accounts for more than 22 percent of the country’s non-oil exports.  
Mehdi Karbasian, who is also the head of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO), further said around 60 percent of the country’s steel is produced in Isfahan Province. “Steel is the centerpiece of a country’s development drive. In other words, without steel production, development will be a nonstarter.”
He recalled the country’s economic policies over the past few years and said the steel industry is one of the most pivotal issues in the Resistance-based Economy, citing the fact that iron ore and natural gas, which are two God-given gifts, together with added value and employment are front and center in the steel chain.
The deputy industry minister went on to say that the country’s steel sector is all-but self-sufficient, adding the steel industry takes care of A to Z of production at home.
As for the importance of steel, he said steel takes center stage in efforts to bring in foreign currencies to the country, raise production, create jobs, guarantee the future and rev up the country’s development. “Iran used to be dependent on imports. We used to import pellets from different countries such as Bahrain. The country’s pellet production has surged by 120 percent over the past four years, and Iran has now become an exporter of sponge iron and steel. All these developments bear testimony to the fact that the country has made hefty investment in steel and added value chains.”
Iran has met its steel production target, he said. “In the 12 months to late March 2015, when we were updating a comprehensive steel plan at IMIDRO and Mobarakeh Steel Company, some experts argued that a production target of 55 million tons of steel under the 2025 Outlook Plan sounded like a flight of fancy. But our production figures showed that it was a dream-come-true.”
In the 12 months to March 20, 2014, Iran’s steel production hit the 21 million ton mark, he said, adding the figure now stands at 32 million tons. “We hope we can increase production to 35 million tons by yearend (March 20, 2019).”
Karbasian said the volume of crude steel major steelmakers produced over the past four months hovered around 7.5 million tons. “The country has posted remarkable growth, 20 percent in concentrate production, 22 percent in pellet production, seven percent in sponge iron production, and 17 percent in ingot production over last year.  In the same period, Iran exported as much as 2.7 million tons of steel products.”
As for the first round of sanctions which targets different sectors, among them, steel, aluminum, coal and metals, he said tough export policies should be relaxed. “We should not adopt forex-related policies that would take a toll on the country’s exports. Getting into an export market is not an easy job. When we say we have sold more than eight million tons of our products to overseas markets and earned $9 billion in revenues, it means we have managed to break into new target markets.”
In conclusion, the deputy industry minister said the questions of investment, development and job creation should not be sidelined now that sanctions have been imposed on the country.
MSC chief: Sanctions, an opportunity for steel industry to reach self-sufficiency
The managing director of Mobarakeh Steel Company (MSC) told the opening ceremony of 10th edition of an International Exhibition of Steel, Metallurgy and Foundry that Isfahan is the capital of Iran as far as steel production is concerned. “Isfahan is the best place to hold a steel exhibition in. The current exhibition has been organized to bolster national production.”
Dr. Bahram Sobhani recalled the economic sanctions slapped by the US on Iran and said the steel industry has reached 85-percent self-sufficiency, adding under pressure from sanctions the country will indigenize the remaining 15 percent for which it is still dependent on others. “Based on this approach, MSC has indigenized the better part of raw materials it needs.”
He said, “We, at MSC, are trying to reach 100-percent self-sufficiency. Today part manufacturers, producers of raw material and knowledge-based companies are expected to pay more attention to the steel industry.”
Support for domestic producers is one of MSC’s policies, he said, adding domestic carmakers do not need to be concerned about the supply of automotive sheets they need.
Dr. Sobhani further said MSC launched production of catalysts needed in the steel industry by tapping into the scientific potential of a knowledge-based company and by trusting the country’s talented experts. “Today we have attained 100-percent self-sufficiency in sponge iron production.”
The MSC chief said his company will have produced graphite electrodes in 18 months and added the steel industry should be developed by using locally-made equipment and tapping domestic engineering potential as well as Iranian workforce.
The managing director of the giant steelmaker highlighted the need for such exhibitions which help develop the steel industry and said exhibitions provide solid ground for spreading information about the needs and achievements of the steel industry and are a forum for exchanging views. “Presence of foreign producers in these exhibitions, especially at this juncture, can open up new opportunities for the steel industry and for implementing joint projects in the country.”
Steel industry’s full self-sufficiency is a must
At the same gathering, Isfahan’s deputy provincial governor for economic affairs and resource development said, “Five decades after the steel industry was launched [in Iran], the industry’s weaknesses in areas such as supply of raw material, equipment and expert workforce should be addressed. We expect to see the full supply of raw materials and completion, from A to Z, of the steel chain.”
Mohammad Shojaei said at this juncture the steel industry can help bring in foreign revenues, adding, the trade dispute between China and the US will see steel industry rivals have a serious presence in global markets.
He said it is important that specialized companies get involved in efforts to identify new markets and maintain old markets under the present circumstances. “Higher education centers should train expert workforce in the steel industry. This will set the stage for the steel industry to walk down the path to progress and development.”       
According to the correspondent of Steel Newsletter, the international event brought together local companies such as Mobarakeh Steel Company, Hormozgan Steel Company, Mobarakeh Steel Engineering Company, International Systems Engineering and Automation Company (IRISA), Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Automotive Sheets Company, Tuka Foolad Investment Company, Metil Steel Co., Felez Tadarok Company, Taraz Chahar Mahal Co., Azar Refractories Company, Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan Cultural-Sports Club, and a number of other industrial and mining firms.

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