EghtesadOnline: According to the latest figures by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, the nominal production of cement in Iran stood at 88 million tons in the fiscal 2020-21.
More than 70 cement factories were operational in Iran, which produced 27 types of cement, according to national standards.
Grey Cement Type II and Type V account for the lion’s share of production and consumption of cement in Iran.
The real production of cement last year was 69.3 million tons, of which 15 million tons were exported to Iraq, Afghanistan and some Southeast Asian countries and 64 million tons were used locally.
Exports of clinker have gradually outweighed those of cement in recent years and foreign countries are more inclined toward importing clinker, thanks to their scarce mineral resources, a new report by Majlis Research Center reads.
Cement clinker is a solid material produced in the manufacture of Portland cement as an intermediate product. Clinker occurs as lumps or nodules, usually 3 millimeters to 25 millimeters in diameter. It is produced by sintering (fusing together without melting to the point of liquefaction) limestone and alumino-silicate materials such as clay during the cement kiln stage.
Iran was ranked the world’s seventh biggest producer of cement in 2020 by the United States Geological Survey, with an output of 60 million tons.
The ranking is unchanged compared with 2019.
According to the report, global cement production also remained unchanged at 4.1 billion tons in 2020.
China was the world’s biggest producer of the construction material with 2.2 billion tons, posting no change compared to 2019.
China was followed by India with 340 million tons. Vietnam was the third biggest producer in the world with 96 million tons, down by 1 million tons year-on-year.
Next were the US with 90 million tons, Indonesia with 73 million tons and Turkey with 66 million tons.
Turkey's annual output has experienced a growth of 9 million tons, USGS data show.
Iran was followed by Russia with 56 million tons, Brazil with 57 million tons, Japan with 53 million tons and South Korea and Egypt with 50 million tons each.
Iran was the world’s eighth biggest cement producer in 2018 with 58 million tons, while Turkey was the seventh biggest producer with 72.5 million tons. As Turkey’s production declined in 2019, Iran occupied the seventh place, according to the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation.
Costs associated with the production of clinker are very high for regional countries, hence they prefer to import rather than produce it.
Iraq used to account for 30% of Iran’s cement exports, but at present, Afghanistan is the main importer of cement from Iran.
Afghanistan has to pay $50-60 per ton for importing cement from Pakistan compared with $25 per ton from Iran, plus transportation and customs. Five-month exports of cement to Afghanistan reached 584,000 tons.
Kazakhstan’s government also introduced a ban on import of certain types of cement from countries outside the Eurasian Economic Union for a period of six months last year, according to Behrouz Hosn-Olfat, an official with the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran.
The ban, effective as of April 28, applied to Portland cement, clinker, alumina cement and other types of hydraulic cement, the official told IRNA.
"The ban will impact our cement producers since Kazakhstan is a main export destination for Iranian cement.”
According to the official, the reason for the ban was declining cement demand in Kazakhstan due to the halt in construction projects caused by the outbreak of Covid-19 as well as the fall in the neighboring country's exports.
"We have lost one of our main cement export destinations and this will have unexpected negative impacts on our industry and producers will incur hefty damages," Mohammad Lahouti, the head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture’s Exports Confederation, was quoted as saying by ILNA.
More than 17.5 million tons of cement and clinker were exported from Iran in the fiscal 2019-20, registering a 32% growth compared with the previous year.
Cement accounted for 6.7 million tons and clinker for 10.8 million tons of the total sum.