EghtesadOnline: National Iranian Copper Industries Company and its subsidiaries, including Sungun Complex, Miduk Complex and Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex, produced an aggregate of 791,443 tons of copper concentrate during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Nov. 21), posting no change in output compared with last year’s similar period.
Production in the month ending Nov. 21 stood at 100,063 tons, going up 7% 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 471,056 tons, up 1% YOY. Sungun Complex produced 222,597 tons, unchanged YOY as Miduk Complex produced 97,790 tons to witness a 5% drop YOY.
Meanwhile, Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex and Khatoon Abad Copper Refinery produced an aggregate of 203,801 tons of copper anode during the period, up 1% YOY. Sarcheshmeh had the biggest share with 155,758 tons, up 20% YOY. Khatoon Abad produced 48,043 tons, down by 34% YOY, Financial Tribune reported.
Copper anode production during the eighth month stood at 20,983 tons, down 24% YOY.
Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex and Miduk Complex produced a total of 173,789 tons of copper cathode during the period, up by 10% YOY. Again, the former had the largest share with 112,307 tons, as Miduk produced 61,482 tons.
Copper cathode output during the eighth month reached 19,578 tons, going down by 9% YOY.
A total of 5,425 tons of molybdenum were produced by Sarcheshmeh and Sungun (4,066 and 1,359 tons respectively) during the eight-month period, which indicates a 16% increase YOY.
Molybdenum output during the month to Nov. 21 totaled 793 tons, up by 33% YOY.
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% decrease 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 month 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 exceeded the total volume of shipments in the fiscal 2018-19 (47,000 tons).
According to the official, Iran’s copper output stood at more than 132,400 tons during the six-month period.
"Iran’s copper production is expected to exceed 260,000 tons by the [fiscal] yearend [March 19] and will exceed 300,000 tons next year [March 2020-21]," he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“Iran's copper smelting capacity is expected to reach 400,000 tons—twice the current capacity—by the end of the current fiscal year [March 2020].”
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, among others: To extract and operate copper mines; to produce high grade ore and copper products such as cathode, slab, billet and 8-mm wires.
Sarcheshmeh and Miduk in Kerman, and Songon in East Azerbaijan are some of the most important copper mines of the country.
NICICO Sales at Over $1b
The National Iranian Copper Industries Company sold 133.98 trillion rials ($1.04 billion) worth of products during the eight months to Nov. 21, Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.
The price of copper concentrate stands at 137.95 million rials ($1,077) per ton this year (March 2019-20). It stood at 52,491,778 rials ($410) last year (March 2018-19) because it was calculated based on the government’s US dollar rate of 42,000 rials ($0.32).
The price of copper cathode stands at 660,525,308 rials ($5,160) in the current year. Last year, it was about half that figure.
What is more, NICICO produced 179,852 tons of sulfuric acid during the period under review while its sales of the product amounted to 225.61 billion rials ($1.76 million).
The report shows NICICO produced 5,632 tons of rebar tie wire, billet and slab during the eight months.
In addition, the company sold 467 tons of gold and silver concentrates during the period.
Sa'd-Mohammadi said NICICO’s shares in Tehran Stock Exchange are now worth more than 470 trillion rials ($3.67 billion) while they were worth 300 trillion rials ($2.34 billion) at the beginning of the current fiscal year (March 21).
NICICO’s copper production capacity will reach 400,000 tons by the fiscal yearend (March 19, 2019) with Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex accounting for 280,000 tons of the sum and Khatoon Abad Copper Refinery for 120,000 tons, he added.
NICICO is a leading copper producer in the Middle East and North Africa and its mines hold close to 14% of Asia’s copper deposits and about 3% of global reserves.
As Sa'd-Mohammadi told IRNA earlier, Iran’s copper production is expected to exceed 260,000 tons by the fiscal yearend and further to 300,000 tons in the following year (March 2020-21).
Iran holds about 4 billion tons of estimated copper reserves, according to the Geological Survey of Iran.
According to the United States Geological Survey, Iran holds the world's ninth largest copper reserves.