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EghtesadOnline: The National Iranian Copper Industries Company's sales reached a record high of 279.72 trillion rials ($1 billion) in the first three quarters of the current Iranian year (March 20-Dec. 21), the company’s managing director said.

Ardeshir Sa'd-Mohammadi added that the figure indicates a 93% increase compared with the same period of last year, the company's website reported.

He noted that NICICO’s sales during the ninth month of the year (Nov. 21-Dec. 20) totaled 48.87 trillion rials ($190 million), up 223%, and amounted to 21.9 trillion rials ($85 million) during the same period of last year.

NICICO’s sales totaled 227 trillion rials ($886 million) in the last fiscal year that ended on March 19, 2020, to witness a staggering rise of 127% compared to the year before.

NICICO is the leading copper producer in the Middle East and North Africa region, as it holds close to 14% of Asia’s copper deposits and more than 4% of global reserves. 

The functions of this company include, among others, extraction and operation of copper mines, as well as the production of high-grade 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.

According to the official, the company's copper anode output grew by 16% during the month to Dec. 21. 

“Copper cathode output also posted a 9% increase during the first three quarters of the fiscal year,” he said, without providing further details. 



Over $350m Worth of Cathodes Exported to China, India 

Latest data show Iran exported 45,600 tons of copper cathode worth $290 million to China during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Nov. 20).

China also imported 504,800 tons of iron and steel ingots valued at $183.3 million from Iran during the same period, in addition to 487,700 tons of semi-finished products of steel worth $169.8 million, Mehr News Agency.

Copper was India’s main imported commodity from Iran during the same period. 

According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, India purchased about $451 million worth of non-oil products from Iran during the period with copper cathode and cathode parts of purified copper topping the list with 14.5% of total imports or $65.4 million, IRNA reported.

The National Iranian Copper Industries Company and its subsidiaries, namely Sungun Complex, Miduk Complex and Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex, produced a total of 804,480 tons of copper concentrate during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Nov. 20) 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.

Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex produced the largest share of the total output, with 477,718 tons, up 1% year-on-year. 

Total copper concentrate output during the month to Nov. 21 stood at 97,665 tons, marking a 3% fall compared with the same period of last year. 

A total of 235,339 tons of copper anode were produced during the eight months, up 16% YOY. 

Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex accounted for 155,589 tons of the total sum and Khatoonabad Copper Cathode Production Plant produced 79,808 tons of copper anode during the said period, up 79,808.

Around 30,287 tons of copper anode were produced in the month ending Nov. 2, up 44% year-on-year. Sarcheshmeh accounted for 19,666 tons of the output during the same month, up 2%.

The production of copper cathode hit 183,327 tons in the eight-month period, up 5% YOY.

Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex and Miduk Complex accounted for 111,339 tons and 64,014 tons of total copper cathode output, respectively. 

Around 20,597 tons of copper cathode were produced during Oct. 22-Nov. 20, indicating a 5% growth compared with the same period of last year. 

A total of 4,652 tons of molybdenum were also produced during the eight-month period, IMIDRO data show, down 14% compared with the same period of last year. 

Molybdenum output in the month ending Nov. 20 amounted to 563 tons, down 29%.



Expansion Plans

According to the company’s officials, NICICO is planning to increase its capital by 97% in the coming weeks from 101.400 trillion rials ($3.9 billion) to 200 trillion rials ($7.7 billion).

Sa'd-Mohammadi said the copper giant currently has more than one million shareholders.

“NICICO plans to increase copper concentrate output by 900 million tons to reach 2 million tons in the medium term,” says Behrouz Rahmati, an official with the company. 

"Our concentrate production capacity is set to reach 2.6 million tons in NICICO's 2030-31 Development Plan … The development plan has been revised recently so that it covers a parallel development of all groups of products," Behrouz Rahmati was quoted as saying by ILNA.

However, concentrate production has been prioritized in the company's outlook, taking into account the "60% marginal revenue" that the product generates. 

“As per the plan, NICICO's copper cathode production capacity should exceed 550,000 tons by 2031,” he said.  

“The development of refinery sites is the company's next priority. The marginal revenue of developing refinery plants is about 20%."

NICICO also plans to finalize the development of the third phase of the Sungun copper concentration plant, and the second phase of Miduk Complex as well as the third phase of Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex. 

Rahmati noted that NICICO is set to finalize 30 projects by the end of the current fiscal year (March 2021).

According to the Geological Survey of Iran, Iran holds about 4 billion tons of estimated reserves.

According to the United States Geological Survey, Iran holds the world's ninth largest copper reserves.



Copper Iran NICICO Industries