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EghtesadOnline: The National Iranian Copper Industries Company's sales reached a record high of 419.4 trillion rials ($1.6 billion) in the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), says the company’s managing director, Ardeshir Sa'd-Mohammadi, noting that the figure indicates a 90% increase compared with the same period of the year before.

He added that NICICO’s sales during the 12th month of the year (Feb. 20-March 20, 2021) totaled 72.7 trillion rials ($290 million), the company's website reported.

NICICO’s sales totaled 227 trillion rials ($886 million) in the fiscal 2019-20 to witness a rise of 127% compared to the year before.

The company sold 272,400 tons of cathode last year, an all-time high, according to the official. The number stood at 248,000 tons in the previous year. 

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 to produce 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.

NICICO and its subsidiaries, including Sungun Complex, Miduk Complex and Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex, produced an aggregate of 324,161 tons of copper anode during the first 11 months of last Iranian year (March 20, 2020-Feb. 19), up 18% compared with last year’s similar period.

The data were released in Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization’s latest report.

Around 31,446 tons of copper anode were produced in the month to Feb. 19, up 5% year-on-year. Sarcheshmeh accounted for the largest portion of the output during the 11th month of the year.

An aggregate of 1.09 million tons of copper concentrate were produced during the 11 months under review, unchanged compared with the same period of last year. Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex produced the largest share of the total output.

The output during the month to Feb. 19 stood at 100,016 tons, marking a 9% growth compared with the same period of last year. 

Production of copper cathode hit 255,780 tons in the 11-month period, up 14% YOY.

Around 24,667 tons of copper cathode were produced during the 11th month of the fiscal year, indicating a 30% growth compared with the same period of last year. 

A total of 6,094 tons of molybdenum were produced during the 11-month period, IMIDRO data show. As per the figures, molybdenum output has experienced a 21% fall compared with the previous year's corresponding period. 

Molybdenum output in the month ending Feb. 19 amounted to 601 tons, down 21%.

“NICICO plans to increase copper concentrate output by 900 million tons to reach 2 million tons in mid-term,” says Behrouz Rahmati, an official with the company, was quoted as saying by ILNA. 

"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 for all groups of products." 

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 added.  

According to Rahmati, the development of refinery sites is the company's next priority and 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. 

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.


NICICO Ardeshir Sa'd-Mohammadi