Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje on Friday directed the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to determine if the local iron deposits are enough to serve as raw material feeds for the planned integrated iron and steel facility in the country.
“We have to assess if we have sufficient iron ore reserves here in the country for the production of pig iron, which will serve as feeds in case we put up our own integrated iron and steel facility,” Paje said.
“Being self-sufficient in iron ore raw materials will enable the government to save millions of dollars it is now spending in the importation of semi-finished steel raw materials for the government’s steel industry,” he said.
The move to establish an integrated iron and steel facility is intended to protect the country’s economy from being drained of its dollar reserves resulting from the importation of semi-finished steel as raw materials for the country’s steel industry.
MGB study showed that the country’s steel industry currently consume about four million tons per year, and is expected to increase to eight million to 10 million annually. Current price of imported iron ore is US$ 70 per ton.
The study further showed that steel imports today, mostly in the form of semi-finished steels, represent the second highest importations, next only to oil and petroleum products.
Paje said the MGB was tasked to evaluate the quantity of local iron ore reserve and determine if the grade of the iron deposits is eligible as raw material feeds in the production of steel in an integrated iron and steel facility.
MGB metallurgical study revealed that iron ores must have a grade of at least 60 percent iron (Fe) in order to be eligible as raw material for the production of steel.
As of 2009, MGB Director Leo Jasareno said the country’s iron reserve contains 493.5 million tons.
The iron reserves are located in Region I, 6.07 million tons; Region II, 25.1 million tons; Region III, 15.23 million tons; Region IV-A, 34.92 tons; Region IV-B, 10.7 million tons; Region V, 318.6 million tons; Region VI, Region VI, 44,190 tons; Region VII, 17.9 million tons; Region VIII, 44.4 million tons; Region IX, 309,310 tons; Region XII, 4 million tons; and Region XIII, 17.04 million tons. (PNA)