Copper Concentrate Capacity to Increase
EghtesadOnline: Sungun Copper Complex will soon begin working on the third development phase of its concentration units.
According to Reza Sharifi, manager of Azarbaijan Copper Complex affiliated with the Iranian National Copper Industries Company, the copper complex has obtained the permit for the development phase from East Azarbaijan Industries, Mining and Trade Organization.
The development of the third phase will see the production of 150,000 tons of copper concentrates in addition to 1,650 tons of molybdenum concentrates per year.
According to the official, Sungun Copper Complex is estimated to possess more than 880 million tons of extractable minerals, Financial Tribune reported.
Currently, 14 million tons of minerals are extracted and around 300,000 tons of concentrates are produced at Sungun Copper Complex per year.
National Iranian Copper Industries Company and its subsidiaries, including Sungun Complex, Miduk Complex and Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex produced an aggregate of 691,381 tons of copper concentrate during the first seven months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Oct. 22) to register a decrease of 1% compared with last year’s similar period.
Production in the month ending Oct. 22 stood at 101,712 tons, which mark a 2% decline year-on-year, the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization’s latest report shows.
Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex had the lion’s share with 409,510 tons, remaining unchanged YOY. Sungun Complex produced 197,008 tons, down 1% YOY as Miduk Complex produced 84,863 tons to witness 8% drop YOY.
Along with Khatoon Abad Copper Refinery, Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex produced an aggregate of 182,818 tons of copper anode during the period under review, up 5% YOY. Sarcheshmeh had the biggest share with 136,571 tons, up 22% YOY. Khatoon Abad produced 46,247 tons, down by 26% YOY.
Copper anode production during the seventh month stood at 19,411 tons, down 31% YOY.
Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex and Miduk Complex produced 154,211 tons of copper cathode during the period, up by 13% YOY. Again, Sarcheshmeh had the largest share with 99,097 tons while Miduk produced 55,114 tons.
Copper cathode output during the seventh month reached 21,790 tons, going up by 2% YOY.
A total of 4,632 tons of molybdenum were produced by Sarcheshmeh and Sungun (3,485 and 1,147 tons respectively) during the seven-month period, which indicates a 14% increase YOY.
Molybdenum output during the month to Oct. 22 totaled 659 tons, up by 20% YOY.
According to the United States Geological Survey, Iran holds the world's ninth largest copper reserves.
Exports of copper and downstream products in the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2019) stood at 365,070 tons worth about $917.53 million, down by 52% in tonnage and up by 13% in value YOY.
Copper and downstream products’ imports stood at 1,870 tons worth $17.42 million, indicating a 93.3% and 90.7% decline in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Copper and downstream products were the third major mineral commodity on the list of the country’s mineral trade.
A total of 56,000 tons of copper were exported from Iran during the first six months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sept. 22), according to the managing director of National Iranian Copper Industries Company.
Ardeshir Sa'd-Mohammadi added that H1 exports of 47,000 tons exceeded the total volume of shipments in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19).
According to the official, Iran’s copper output stood at more than 132,400 tons during the six-month period, IRNA reported.
"Iran’s copper production is expected to exceed 260,000 tons by March 19, 2019, and will top 300,000 tons next year [March 2020-21]," he said.
Iran's copper smelting capacity is expected to reach 400,000 tons—double the current capacity—by the end of the current fiscal year [March 2020], he added.
Taking into account the development of copper mines of Der Alo Copper Mine, Darezar Copper Mine and Khatoon Abad (all three in Kerman Province) as well as new explorations, Sa'd-Mohammadi believes the country’s copper reserves will last for the next 100 years at least.
On July 3, 1972, Kerman Sarcheshmeh Copper Mines Company was incorporated and in 1976 it was renamed National Iranian Copper Industries Company, which encompasses all operations of copper mines in the country. The functions of this company include: To extract and operate copper mines; to produce high grade products of ore and copper products such as cathode, slab, billet and 8-mm wires.
Sarcheshmeh and Miduk in Kerman, and Sungun in East Azerbaijan are some of the most important copper mines of the country.
New Projects Inaugurated at Sarcheshmeh
Five industrial, mineral projects were inaugurated at Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex located in Rafsanjan County, Kerman Province, on Nov. 12 with an investment of 751 billion rials ($6 million).
Among the projects were a sulfuric acid plant that was inaugurated in the presence of Industries Minister Reza Rahmani and Managing Director of National Iranian Copper Industries Company Ardeshir Sa'd-Mohammadi, as well as some other officials from Rafsanjan County.
The plant has a production capacity of 610,000 tons per year and will create 200 jobs. A total of 450 billion rials ($3.96 million) were invested in this plant, IRNA reported.
Other projects inaugurated at Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex include:
* A project to increase the capacity of waste thickeners at Sarcheshmeh with an investment of 250 billion rials ($2.2 million).
* A project to renovate anode furnace and casting wheel with an investment of 39 billion rials ($343,612). The project has the capacity for refining 250 tons of copper on each cycle and casting 50 tons per hour.
* A project related to transferring minerals to thickening plants with an investment of 12 billion rials ($105,726).
* A project related to smart alarm systems and mine management with an investment of more than 2 billion rials ($17,621).
Rahmani told ILNA that 15 trillion rials ($132.15 million) of total investments in Kerman Province pertain to copper projects.
The ministry is pursuing plans related to copper projects in the provinces of Kerman, Yazd, East Azarbaijan and Sistan-Baluchestan with a total investment of €2.5 billion, the minister said at the inaugural ceremony.