EghtesadOnline: The National Iranian Copper Industries Company and its subsidiaries, including Sungun Complex, Miduk Complex and Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex, produced an aggregate of 403,994 tons of copper concentrate during the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 20-July 21) to register a 1% 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 July 21 stood at 93,918 to register a year-on-year decrease of 7%.
An aggregate of 121,202 tons of copper anode were produced during the four months under review, up 3% YOY.
Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex accounted for 79,831 tons of the total sum (up 2% YOY) and Khatunabad Copper Cathode Production Plant produced 41,371 tons to witness a 4% rise.
Around 29,652 tons of copper anode were produced in the month ending July 21, up 5% YOY.
Production of copper cathode hit 91,080 tons during the four months, up 1% YOY.
Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex and Miduk Complex accounted for 57,403 tons and 33,677 tons of the total copper cathode output respectively.
Around 22,072 tons of copper cathode were produced over June 21-July 21 period, down 4% YOY.
A total of 2,593 tons of molybdenum were produced during the four-month period, which indicates a 4% YOY decrease.
Molybdenum output in the month ending July 21 amounted to 571 tons, down 3% YOY.
World's Ninth 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 the Managing Director of National Iranian Copper Industries Company Ardeshir Sa'd-Mohammadi, adding that with the development of mineral explorations, the country will soon ascend to the seventh 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 surpass 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 last for the next 100 years.
Exports of copper and downstream products in the fiscal 2019-20 stood at 365,070 tons worth about $917.53 million, down by 52% in tonnage and up 13% in value YOY.
Copper and downstream products’ imports stood at 1,870 tons worth $17.42 million, indicating a 93.3% and 90.7% decrease in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Copper and downstream products were the third major mineral commodity on the list of the country’s mineral trade.
On July 3, 1972, Kerman Sarcheshmeh Copper Mines Company was incorporated and in 1976 it was renamed National Iranian Copper Industries Company, which encompasses all operations of copper mines in the country.
The functions of this company include among others: To extract and operate copper mines; to produce high-grade products of ore and copper products such as cathode, slab, billet and 8-mm wires.
Among the most important copper mines of the country, one may name: Sarcheshmeh and Miduk in Kerman, and Sungun in East Azarbaijan.
World's 8th Biggest Extraction Capacity
Iran has the capacity to extract 32.5 million tons of copper ores per year, making the country the world's eighth biggest in this respect, according to Sa'd-Mohammadi.
He says there will be more than 100,000 meters of deep explorations in copper ore mines in the current Iranian year (March 2020-21).
The National Iranian Copper Industries Company’s sales totaled a record high of 227 trillion rials ($ billion) in the last fiscal year that ended on March 19 to witness a staggering rise of 127% compared to the year before.
According Sa'd-Mohammadi, the company’s domestic sales accounted for over 110 billion rials ($485,222) of the total sum. The rest pertained to exports.
He noted that both earnings from exports and domestic sales registered all-time highs, 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 new 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 sulfuric 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 increases to 400,000 tons per year.