Today Picture
Managing director: New MSC approach centers on indigenization of processes

The 11th International Exhibition of Steel, Metallurgy, Foundry, Machinery and Related Industries (METALEX 2019) was held on Isfahan International Exhibition Fairground (September 1-4, 2019). The managing director of Mobarakeh Steel Company (MSC), the director general of the department of mining industries at the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Trade and the adviser to the deputy industry minister for mines and mining industry affairs, the director of Isfahan Provincial Industries, Mines and Trade Organization as well as representatives from more than 120 companies active in the field of steel, metallurgy and related industries were in attendance.
In the opening ceremony, MSC chief Hamidreza Azimian said that indigenization of processes is front and center in new approaches his company has adopted. “We are planning to reach out to all capable people to indigenize the steel industry from start to finish.”
He further said production of crude steel since the foundation of Mobarakeh Steel Company has surpassed 110 million tons, something which has helped the giant steelmaker take on a role other than a mere producer. He expressed hope that MSC will be recognized in the world as a company in possession of the knowhow in the steel industry in the future.
In 1978, Iran was in 40th place in the world ranking of steel producers, he said, adding now the country ranks 10th in the world.
Azimian went on to say that MSC gives priority to measures to meet domestic needs through maximal production, diversification of products and acquisition of the technical knowhow to build steel plants. “Mobarakeh Steel Company seeks to expand indigenization of parts and equipment into indigenization of processes. This comes as the company has started indigenization of part of the processes.”
As for the country’s capabilities for meeting local needs, he said Iran currently brings in 800,000 tons of steel, down from four million tons it imported in 2013. “We are trying our best to push down the figure into the neighborhood of zero.”
He expressed hope that steelmakers, supported by relevant officials, can sustainably meet the needs of downstream industries and domestic market.
Producers to face no problem buying raw materials           
The director general of the department of mining industries at the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Trade and the adviser to the deputy industry minister for mines and mining industry affairs told the ceremony, “The problems steelmakers face when it comes to securing raw materials will be solved soon thanks to the classifications we have developed [in the ministry].”
Seifollah Amiri said no ban whatsoever has been placed on exports; rather, we are seeking to increase exports and bring in hard currency. “We have tried to get the house in order as far as the outflow of steel products is concerned.”
He further said the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Trade is exploring ways to meet the needs of steelmakers for raw materials, adding it has entrusted the official representatives [of steelmakers] or producers with the exports. “State producers are not authorized to export iron ore because the ministry wants to have the needs of local manufacturing units met and wants to see the back of the problems associated with the supply of iron ore to steelmakers.”
He said the industry ministry has organized exports. “All customs offices across the country have been informed that only producers or their official representatives can handle exports provided that they first meet domestic needs.”
Amiri went on to say that the ministry has already provided the graphite electrodes manufacturing units will need over the next year, adding under a new agreement the price of imported electrodes has decreased.
He said the industry ministry does not issue new permits for the construction of steel producing units. “Under the 2025 Outlook Plan, we have to produce 55 million tons of steel for which we need 155 million tons of iron ore. If we fail to organize exports, we will face problems getting the raw material (iron ore) ten years after the Outlook Plan.”
Steel industry accounts for 36% of job creation in Isfahan Province
The director of Isfahan Provincial Industries, Mines and Trade Organization, for his part, said that the steel industry accounts for 36 percent of jobs created in the province. “Isfahan Province absorbs 22 percent of investment in the industry and accounts for half of steel production in the country.”
Iraj Movafagh further said special attention should be paid to the industry sector. “Isfahan ranks first in the country when it comes to steel production. We should support steelmakers and pave the way for them to walk down the path to progress and development.”
He further said the steel industry is the first in the country as far as production and exports are concerned, adding Isfahan, which is home to over 10,000 industrial units and more than 100 units involved in the steel industry and related industries, is the country’s number one industrial province.
Isfahan Province accounts for 50 percent of production of steel and steel products in the country, he said, adding officials should pave the way for producers.
Movafagh said, “We are not seeking to place a ban on exports of raw materials, but we need to put on the agenda the supply of raw materials for top industrial units, especially those in Isfahan Province. As long as the country is facing such a problem, no permit should be issued for new units. At a time when the existing units are operating below capacity, we should not think about building new units”
He said domestic producers should be able to compete with foreign manufacturers, adding on top of operating at full capacity the existing units should be developed.      
The head of Isfahan Provincial Industries, Mines and Trade Organization said, “To make that happen, we need to first supply raw materials. In light of the fact that the country is rich in minerals, we should not face problems providing raw materials [for industrial units].”
He said special attention to exports can contribute to the development of larger units. “We should try to impose tariff barriers on the imports of steel products in order to strike a balance in the steel market.”
MP: Efforts to undermine MSC to detriment of industry, national interests
On the sidelines of the exhibition, the chairman of parliament’s Special Committee to Support National Production said that Mobarakeh Steel Company is one of the pillars of the steel industry and the current exhibition (METALEX).    
Hamidreza Fooladgar, who represents Isfahan in the Islamic Consultative Assembly, further said that the presence of MSC with its chain of upstream and downstream mining industries in this exhibition and its sharing of experience with other participants can bring benefits for the steel industry in the country.
The MP said Isfahan is Iran’s steel hub where two-thirds of the country’s steel is produced in Mobarakeh Steel Company and Esfahan Steel Company. “In light of the fact that MSC is the country’s largest industrial company and is of great importance for the province and the entire country, in recent years with the country grappling with foreign exchange fluctuations and problems involving exports and imports as well as supply and return of hard currency, the Islamic Consultative Assembly has gone to great lengths to support the industry sector, Mobarakeh Steel Company in particular.”
He expressed hope that Mobarakeh Steel Company can maintain a steady speed in its march toward better steel production in terms of quality and quantity, raise productivity and complete the steel chain.    
Fooladgar went on to highlight MSC’s achievements when it comes to the optimal use of water and said the giant steelmaker has made extensive gains by huge investment in water resources. “Thanks to its measures to recycle water in the production cycle and minimize water consumption, Mobarakeh Steel Company has set a good example for other countries to follow. When it comes to undertaking social responsibility, MSC has contributed remarkably to water supply projects including its partnership in construction of Kouhrang’s third tunnel.”
Efforts to undermine or disparage Mobarakeh Steel Company – which is the largest industrial company in the country – are to the detriment of the industry sector and do a disservice to national interests. “If MSC’s production cycle comes to a halt, a big number of industries and businesses will plunge into crisis. That’s why the steel giant should be given full support.”
In conclusion, Fooladgar expressed hope MSC’s managers and staffers redouble their efforts to improve Iran’s position in the global steel industry.      
11th METALEX, an opportunity for improvement
The director of the Public Relations Office at Mobarakeh Steel Company said that the 11th International Exhibition of Steel, Metallurgy, Foundry, Machinery and Related Industries (METALEX 2019) has created a good opportunity for the industry sector to negotiate, improve and strengthen synergy among related industries.
On day four of the exhibition, when asked by the correspondent of Steel Newsletter about the achievement of the 11th exhibition compared with expos held in previous years, Iraj Torabi said, “This year’s exhibition was widely welcomed by participants and visitors. The surveys our colleagues at MSC have conducted are a testament to the success of the 11th expo.”
He said efforts should be made to hold future editions of the exhibitions more powerfully and purposefully in coming years. “We are planning to set the stage for the 12th expo (METALEX 2020) to be held more efficiently and in a more qualitative manner. That’s why we have put on our agenda measures to make detailed plans and set attendance goals for the next edition of the international event. We are reviewing and examining ways of to making good use of exhibition space so that we can establish more effective contacts with visitors, beneficiaries, manufacturers and knowledge-based companies which can – one way or another – help improve the steel industry in the country. We are seeking efforts which will eventually help materialize the great goals of the company and those of the entire steel industry.”
Cooperation with research centers, knowledge-based firms key to beating sanctions
The manager of MSC’s Metallurgy and Manufacturing Methods, for his part, said close interaction with customers, universities, research centers and knowledge-based companies will play an instrumental role in overcoming [economic] gridlock and working out an exit strategy when it comes to sanctions. 
Mohammadali Towhidi described the 11th expo as active and said organization of specialized workshops, conferences and seminars will undoubtedly help boost synergy and bring about development. “Creation of environments in which knowledge-based companies interact with producers, consumers and other beneficiaries will lead to sustainable development.”
Given the role the units in charge of Metallurgy and Manufacturing Methods play in steel plants, he said these units are responsible for designing the characteristics and parameters of new products. “Our experts can cooperate with knowledge-based companies and scientific, research centers to participate in the production of new products which are now being imported from abroad. For instance, Mobarakeh Steel Company is currently studying a plan to produce at least 15 new products which can effectively promote the country’s steel industry and help it become self-sufficient.”

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