Iranian Industries, Mines and Trade Minister Mehdi Qazanfari said Iran will soon become a steel ingots exporter after several steel projects which are currently under construction launch operation, Fars reported.
"Iran will become a steel ingots exporter in future," Qazanfari said at the inauguration ceremony of industrial and development projects in Bandar Abbas in Southern Hormozgan province on Sunday.
He noted that the production capacity in the field of industries and mines has hit six million tons in the last few months.
Qazanfari said that Iran ranks 17th in the world in terms of steel production.
The Iranian minister said that the country's steel production capacity is 20mln tons at present.
Iran is among the 15 major mineral-rich countries and exports its industrial and mineral products to 159 countries, including Iraq, China, the United Arab Emirates, India and Afghanistan.
According to a recent report by the World Steel Association, Iran produced 13mln tons of steel in 2011 and an eye-catching growth is expected in Iran's steel production this year.
Meantime, the report said that Iran was the 16th steel producer in the world in September with a production of 1.09mln tons.
In June, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran's steel production should reach 48 million tons in the next 4 or 5 years.
Earlier this year, an Iranian official announced that the production of steel in Iran has grown 5 million tons in the past two years despite the harsh sanctions imposed by the West against the country.
"Despite the intensified sanctions during the last two years, the capacity of Iran's steel production has increased 5mln tons and we will be completely self-sufficient in the steel industry in the next three years," Vice-President of Iran's Steel Association Hamidreza Taherizadeh told FNA in July.