Source: Mehr News Agency
A large sponge iron production unit, with a projected annual output of 1.8 million tons, came on stream on Sunday in Hormozgan Province in southern Iran.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the inauguration ceremony.
The project started in 2007 and cost around 3.5 trillion rials (about $285 million) to complete. It will create some 1,300 direct jobs in the first phase, according to the Mehr News Agency.
The plant was built entirely through the use of Iranian expertise.
Sponge iron, also called direct-reduced iron, is produced from direct reduction of iron ore (in the form of lumps, pellets, or fines) by a reducing gas produced from natural gas or coal. The direct reduction process is intrinsically more energy efficient than other methods because it operates at a lower temperature.
On September 14, IRIB quoted Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization Chairman Fereydoun Ahmadi as saying that the implementation of technology projects that only utilize Iranian expertise has saved the country about $750 million over the past five years.
In the past two years, 228 projects have been completed in the steel industry, which have created 5,512 jobs, he noted.
On September 4, Iranian Industry, Mine and Trade Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari said that Iran possesses two percent of the world's total mineral reserves.
He added that the mineral reserves include 12 metal and 36 non-metal ores.
About 5,000 mines are being exploited in the country, he stated, adding that around 340 million tons of minerals were extracted in the previous Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 19.
Earlier this year, Geology and Mineral Exploration Organization Deputy Director Behrouz Borna said that the Islamic Republic of Iran has the largest mineral reserves in the Middle East.
Iran is also one of the top 15 countries in the world in regard to mineral reserves and exports its industrial and mineral products to 159 countries, including Iraq, China, the United Arab Emirates, India, and Afghanistan, he stated.
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