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SMIC launches Bentonite plant

Sangan Mining Industries Co. (SMIC), marking the auspicious occasion of Eid al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice), inaugurated a new plant to produce as much as 100,000 tons of bentonite per year.
Speaking in the opening ceremony, which came on the back of efforts by Naqsh-e Jahan Atiyeh Foolad Mining and Industrial Company, SMIC Managing Director Ali Amraei said that the inauguration of the plant amounts to a crucial step toward self-sufficiency when it comes to production of bentonite, a mineral which is used in pellet production.
He further said the country used to import bentonite, adding in light of the fact that this year has been designated as Year of Boosting Production, the company tried to launch the plant to obviate the need for this region to import this key mineral.
He said the company can increase the plant’s capacity up to 200,000 tons per year, adding the plant has created job opportunities for 20 people directly and for 100 people indirectly.
Amraei went on to say that the plant, which has absorbed 140 billion rials in seed capital, is capable of meeting pellet needs (five million tons) of SMIC and other companies in the region.
As for the progress of Sangan Iron Ore Concentrate project, he said the project’s production line will come on stream in the next few months. “The company has put on its agenda maximal use of local workforce for the production line, the inauguration of which will create direct jobs for 400 people and indirect jobs for 3,000 more.”
Sangan Iron Ore Concentrate plant is the largest mill in eastern Iran with a capacity of five million tons, he said, adding the plant plays an instrumental role in sustainable supply of raw material for Mobarakeh Steel Company. “SMIC has plans to inaugurate the plant’s production line by yearend (which falls on March 20, 2020).”
Amraei stressed the need for the optimal use of water resources in production lines and said, “Given the special conditions in the region, the company has – for the first time in the country – tapped cutting-edge technologies in line with the latest international environmental standards in its concentrate production project. As a result, about 70 percent of the water consumed in the production process returns to the production cycle.”
Currently 800 people continuously work in two shifts to complete the project, he said. “In a year designated by the Supreme Leader as Year of Boosting Production, the plant plays a key role in generating jobs and bringing down unemployment in the area.”  
On the social responsibility front, the SMIC chief said his company is constructing seven schools in Sangan and Khaf region, adding efforts are underway to make these schools operational by the start of the school year [in late September]. 
He said his company has undertaken the following measures in the region as part of its social responsibility drive: partnering with other companies to partly build regional infrastructure; holding Golrizan (fundraising) ceremonies to free prisoners convicted of involuntary offenses; boosting sporting activities in nearby towns; building green spaces; and supporting cooperatives in order to boost employment in the area.
Construction of plant in line with MSC strategies, completion of steel chain
In the same ceremony, Mohammad-Yaser Tayebnia, who is in charge of the Purchase and Supplies Department at Mobarakeh Steel Company (MSC), appreciated the measures taken so far and said the plant has been constructed to complete the steel production cycle in keeping with MSC’s strategies.
Sangan region has absorbed hefty investment as far as the supply of raw material is concerned, he said. “The inauguration, in a few months, of the plant is projected to complete part of the supply chain. Without a doubt, the launch of Sangan Iron Ore Concentrate project with a capacity of five million tons will largely contribute to Mobarakeh Steel Company when it comes to the supply of its raw materials and will lessen the risks associated with such supply.”
He further said MSC needs 100,000 tons of bentonite annually, adding the plant became operational in Year of Boosting Production despite sanctions imposed on the country.
MP: MSC measures left positive mark on industrial development of Khaf
Mahmoud Negahban Salami, who represents Khaf and Rashtkhar in the Islamic Consultative Assembly, for his part, thanked Mobarakeh Steel Company, Sangan Mining Industries Company and Naqsh-e Jahan Atiyeh Foolad Mining and Industrial Company for their measures and said what’s been done so far has been a blessing for Khaf.       
Negahban Salami, who is also the deputy chairman of parliament’s mining caucus, appreciated MSC’s efforts on the social responsibility front and its plans to construct seven educational centers in this town, and expressed hope the schools will be inaugurated by late September in time for the new school year.
Rapid inauguration of Sangan project, a plus
Later Hossein Kafami, the managing director of Naqsh-e Jahan Atiyeh Foolad Mining and Industrial Company, said that one standout feature of the project to produce bentonite, a micronized powder, in Sangan Mining Industrial Company is that it has taken only four months to complete.
He further said due to inflation and price hikes the 14-billion-toman project would have absorbed more than 20 billion tomans in investment if it had started this year.
Given the feasibility study, the project’s payback period will last 21 months. The global consumption of bentonite per ton of pellets stands at about 17 kg, but the current project will reduce Iran’s consumption to just 9 kg.

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