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EghtesadOnline: Esfahan Steel Company inaugurated its iron ore beneficiation plant last week. According to ESCO’s deputy head, Hassan Zia, the beneficiation plant has a processing capacity of 200 kilograms of iron ore per hour.

“The main purpose of establishing this plant is to reduce the raw material feedstock while boosting production by increasing iron content,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.

In the mining industry, beneficiation is a process that removes gangue minerals from ore to produce a higher grade product. And considering that ESCO utilizes blast furnaces, in contrast to other major producers dominantly using electric arc furnaces, using a higher content ore will help the company reduce its finished product price and consequently become more competitive.

The plant was wholly constructed by ESCO engineers in about four months with an overall investment of 6 billion rials ($157,894). Zia believes this to be an industry record, according to Financial Tribune.

Esfahan Steel Company produced 2.24 million tons of semi-finished products, including slabs, blooms, billets and ingots, in the last fiscal year (March 2016-17), down 31.80% year-on-year.

The company also produced 2.05 million tons of steel products such as rebars, beams, pipes and sheets during the same period.

The Isfahan-based steelmaker also exported 640,521 tons of beams, rebars, coils and cast iron last year, down 8% to become Iran’s fourth largest steel exporter.

“ESCO plans to boost longs exports to 1 million tons by the end of the current fiscal year (March 20, 2018),” Ehsan Dashtianeh, ESCO’s head of sales and marketing, said.

Export destinations include Iraq, Afghanistan, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sudan, Turkey, Taiwan and Thailand.

ESCO is Iran’s oldest steel company and one of the country’s largest producer of structural steel. It was jointly established in 1965 by Iran and the Soviet Union’s Tyazhpromexport Company in Isfahan Province. The company’s steel production facilities became operational in 1972.

The company, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, was struggling for the most part of 2016 to clear billions of dollars of debts and find new export destinations as an alternative to the glutted local market.

According to manager Ahmad Sadeqi, ESCO’s total debts were about 6.6 trillion rials ($1.75 billion) in November 2016, half of which was the steelmaker’s debt to banks.

ESCO explores new initiatives ranging from new export strategies to more efficient production methods.

ESCO Esfahan Steel Company Iran iron Iran iron ore Hassan Zia