Iron Ore is primarily used for the extraction of iron, which is further used in steel production that aids a lot of end industrial segment such as automobiles, construction, Structural engineering and Industrial use.
By its tonnage count, it can be claimed as the most widely-used metal on earth.
In 2018, Global trade of iron ore totaled to over 1531.5 million metric tons, where exports from Australia, world’s largest Iron Ore Producer, accumulated to around 841.7 million metric tons of iron ore, while Brazil & US exports were next in line and stood over 389.8 & 13.03 million metric tons respectively.
BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Vale control the world’s supply mechanism as the 3 largest Iron Ore Miners directing about two-third of their supply towards China, which consumes about 1.08 billion metric tons on per annum due to major reliance on Blast Furnace operations.
Magnifying the discussion onto our industry, we can probe into how the Pakistani industry can identify areas of advancement in this regard.
Overtime, Iron ore reserve across Pakistan have been discovered such as the one by the Chinese Metallurgical Cooperation at Chiniot. It has been estimated that around 60-65% of the 500m tons reserves found there have been proven to be of High Grade.
Moreover, several deposits of iron ore have been found in Chagai district of Balochistan, most of which are rich in Iron but are nonetheless smaller in expected tonnage counts.
Some other regions of Pakistan such as Nokundi, Haripur, Northern Areas and Kalabagh (350m tons).
On average, Pakistan had been consuming around 400,000 tons annually, as the PSM considered shift towards the consumption of Iron Ore instead of its reliance on Ferrous Scrap previously. It is claimed that the Pakistan Steel Mill local iron ore worth Rs5.53bn during 2013-2018, subsequently claiming Iron Ore as one of minerals abundantly found in Pakistan.
However, being a country with most of its production relying on the use of re-meltable scrap in arc and electric furnaces, Pakistan could not cash in this opportunity but its never too late and the Government of Pakistan alongside Major Steel Producers, should join hands to revamping the industrial production process flow, that includes, advancement of technology, becoming more competitive in terms of prices and exploring more and more export avenues.
By actively pursuing the idea of installation of Blast Furnaces and opting for use of Iron Ore, an option that is undoubtedly costlier initially considering the installation however, the threshold operational, raw material and conversion costs will be viable when compared with the current Industrial Cost structure.