EghtesadOnline: The National Iranian Copper Industries Company and its subsidiaries, including Sungun Complex, Miduk Complex and Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex, produced an aggregate of 310,076 tons of copper concentrate during the first three months of the current Iranian year (March 20-June 20) to register a 3% growth compared with last year’s similar period.
The data were released in Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization’s latest report.
The output during the month to June 20 stood at 100,626 to register a year-on-year rise of 5%.
An aggregate of 91,550 tons of copper anode were produced during the three months under review, up 2% YOY.
Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex accounted for 61,256 tons of the total sum (up 4% YOY) and Khatoonabad Copper Cathode Production Plant produced 30,294 tons to witness a 1% decline.
Around 29,901 tons of copper anode were produced in the month ending June 20, down 5% YOY.
Production of copper cathode hit 69,008 tons during the three months, up 2% YOY.
Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex and Miduk Complex accounted for 43,963 tons and 25,045 tons of the total copper cathode output respectively.
Around 25,830 tons of copper cathode were produced over May 20-June 20 period, up 16% YOY.
Sulfide ore extraction during the three months stood at 13.85 million tons, up 2% YOY. The figure for the month to June 20 amounted to 4.66 million tons, showing a 16% hike YOY.
A total of 2,022 tons of molybdenum were produced during the three-month period, which indicates a 5% YOY decrease.
Molybdenum output in the month ending June 20 amounted to 653 tons, down 4% YOY.
World's 9th Largest Reserve
According to the United States Geological Survey, Iran holds the world's ninth largest copper reserves.
Iran holds about 4 billion tons of estimated copper reserves, according to the Geological Survey of Iran.
With an annual production of 34.5 million tons, Iran is currently the world’s eighth biggest producer of copper in the world, says Managing Director of National Iranian Copper Industries Company Ardeshir Sa'd-Mohammadi, adding that with development of mineral explorations the country will soon ascend to the 7th rank.
According to the official, Iran’s copper reserves make up 4.15% of the global copper reserves, Fars News Agency reported.
Iran's major Sungun Copper Mine’s reserves exceed 1.2 billion tons while that of Miduk Copper Mine surpasses 500 million tons.
According to Sa'd-Mohammadi, the copper industry has a 50-million-ton share in Iran's annual mineral output.
Taking into account the development of copper mines of Der Alo Copper Mine, Darezar Copper Mine and Khatunabad (all three in Kerman Province) as well as new explorations, Sa'd-Mohammadi believes the country’s copper reserves will at least last for the next 100 years.
Exports of copper and downstream products in the fiscal March 2019-20 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 $17.42 million, indicating a 93.3% and 90.7% decline in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Copper and downstream products were the third major mineral commodity on the list of the country’s mineral trade.
On July 3, 1972, Kerman Sarcheshmeh Copper Mines Company was incorporated and in 1976 it was renamed National Iranian Copper Industries Company, which encompasses all operations of copper mines in the country.
The functions of this company include, among others: To extract and operate copper mines and produce high-grade products of ore and copper products such as cathode, slab, billet and 8-mm wires.
Sarcheshmeh and Miduk in Kerman, and Sungun in East Azarbaijan are among the most important copper mines of the country.
Iran has the capacity to extract 32.5 million tons of copper ores per year, making the country the world's eighth biggest in this respect, according to Sa'd-Mohammadi.
He added that there will be more than 100,000 meters of deep explorations in copper ore mines in the current Iranian year (March 2020-21).
The National Iranian Copper Industries Company’s sales totaled a record high of 227 trillion rials ($ billion) in the last fiscal year that ended on March 19 to witness a staggering rise of 127% compared to the year before.
Sa’d-Mohammadi noted that the company’s domestic sales accounted for over 110 billion rials ($485,222) of the total sum and the rest pertained to exports.
He noted that both earnings from exports and domestic sales registered an all-time high, ISNA reported.
The value of exports was twice those of the preceding year, he added.
Smelting Capacity Boosted to 400,000 Tons p.a.
Four development projects related to copper industry were inaugurated in Kerman Province by President Hassan Rouhani on May 7.
A total of 2.21 trillion rials ($12.5 million) have been invested in these projects, which are said to have created more than 200 jobs.
Located in the southern province's Shahr-e Babak County, the new projects are to do with the development of Khatunabad Copper Refinery Plant: expansion of its copper anode smelting plant, a new copper concentrate storage facility, a sulfuric acid plant and an oxygen plant.
The expansion of copper anode smelting plant has entailed technology improvement and increased copper anode production by 50%, from 80,000 tons to 120,000 tons per year.
The copper concentrate storage facility has the capacity to store 60,000 tons.
The acid plant has the capacity to produce around 600,000 tons of sulfur acid per year.
The oxygen plant has the capacity to produce 440 tons of oxygen per day.
Sa'd-Mohammadi told IRNA that with the new projects on stream, Iran’s copper smelting capacity will increase to 400,000 tons per year.