New boost for Irans Iron-ore exports

31 Mar 2014

International trading of Iranian Iron ore has seen a significant increase in the last financial calendar year. Previous years have seen a fall in exports in Iron ore from Iran for two main reasons. Firstly, through pressures induced by sanctions from western powers, Iran has lost suppliers and buyers. Also, in respect of last year’s figures, Iran reduced its exports considerably and voluntarily because the Iron ore was needed for steel production units domestically.

Exports on course for to better last year’s figures

Reports released at the end of February show that that at the end of the first 9 months of this Iranian financial calendar year both state-run and privately owned Iron ore companies are seeing a new boost in exports.  Last year the total exports of Iron ore for the year were 20 million tons. In September 2013, Mohammad Habibi, an official of Iran's Iron Ore Producers and Exporters Union predicted that this year’s production would better last year by at least 10%. The report estimated that the country has seen 14 million tons of Iron ore produced and exported so far - so the figure of 20 million tons should be reached relatively easily.

China is the main importer of Iron ore

One of the reasons for the growth has been  the discovery of  huge reserves of high-quality Iron ore in the country's Central Lut desert which has been an excellent resource for future production. It would appear that the relief of sanctions since November 2013 has helped the situation a little but, as reported by Reuters in May last year, the major powers still providing a lifeline to Iran's vital steel and iron ore sector are  China, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Even so, Iran still holds a very powerful position in Iron ore production globally. Last year it ranked third in Asia and 11th in the world in terms of iron reserves and is among the 15 major mineral-rich countries. It exports its industrial and mineral products to 159 countries. However, statistics show that China have been far and away the biggest importer of Iranian Iron ore. In the first six months of this calendar year China imported as much as 97% of Iran’s total output.

In order to boost exports further Iran is looking to India to increase global exports. This is especially seen with “Sponge Iron” (an alternative steel-making ingredient). Exports to India have risen to 80,000 tons in April–July, from 45,000 tons for the whole of fiscal year ended March.

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