Iron ore, iron metal and steel production in Venezuela increased last year over 2004, the country's steel institute Ives reported.
In the case of iron ore, output rose 10.2% to 22.1Mt and domestic sales grew 22% to 9.3Mt, while exports dropped 12.7% to 7.6Mt.
Direct reduced iron (DRI) and briquette production also rose, hitting a record 8.9Mt in 2005, up 14.9% from the previous year.
The increases were due to higher capacity at the Materiales Siderúrgicos (Matesi) plant, which Tenaris and Sidor control, and higher output from Orinoco Iron, according to the institute.
Ives also highlighted the record production of liquid steel, which grew 10.9% to 4.9Mt.
Total steel product exports rose 21.5% to 2.4Mt in the period.
"These volumes indicate that last year's export market accounted for 54.9% of total sales of Venezuelan steel products," Ives added.
Local steelmaker Sidor could produce 5Mt this year, sector specialist Igor Villegas told BNamericas.
"Domestic consumption continues to be important as the government closed imports; there are foreign currency controls and what is produced internally cannot be exported," Villegas said.
According to Villegas " there will be an upturn in national production, [because] existing capacity has been recovering."
Sidor churned out some 3.9Mt of steel in 2005.
Venezuelan iron and steel producers and domestic companies that produce goods and services for the steel industry make up Ives.