EghtesadOnline: The National Iranian Copper Industries Company produced 178,784 tons of copper anode in the current fiscal year’s first six months (March 21-Sept. 22), unchanged from last year’s similar period.
The data were released in Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization’s latest report.
Around 31,426 tons of copper anode were produced in the month ending Sept. 22, up 4% year-on-year.
An aggregate of 601,625 tons of copper concentrate were produced in H1, unchanged YOY.
During the sixth months, output reached 114,625 tons, registering an 8% growth compared with the same period of last year.
The production of copper cathode hit 143,328 tons in the six-month period, up 2% YOY.
Around 26,818 tons of copper cathode were produced during the sixth fiscal month, indicating an 11% growth compared with the same period of last year.
A total of 3,976 tons of molybdenum were also produced during the six-month period, up 10% year-on-over.
Molybdenum output in the sixth month amounted to 754 tons, registering a 29% rise compared with the previous year's corresponding period.
NICICO is a leading copper producer in the Middle East and North Africa region and its mines hold close to 14% of Asia’s copper deposits and about 3% of global reserves.
The company extracts and operates copper mines and produces high-grade copper products such as cathode, slab, billet and 8-mm wires.
NICICO earned 260.46 trillion rials ($964) in net profit in the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), up 118% YOY.
The company’s sales volume stood at 419.4 trillion rials ($1.5 billion) during the year, up by 87% YOY.
Sarcheshmeh and Miduk in Kerman, and Sungun in East Azarbaijan Province are among the most important copper mines of the country.
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.
A contract was signed last month worth 80,000 billion rials ($294 million) for the annual production of 100,000 tons of copper cathode in Sungun Varzeqan Copper Complex, located in East Azarbaijan Province, between the National Iranian Copper Industries Company and Khatam Al-Anbia Construction Headquarters.
The project has the capacity to directly employ 500 people and indirectly employ 3,000 others, IRNA reported.
Sungun Complex is a subsidiary of NICICO and Khatam Al-Anbia is a major conglomerate in Iran. It is Iran’s largest copper mine with 1.5 billion tons of identified reserves.
“Sungun copper reserves have increased by 523 million tons in the past two years,” managing director of NICICO was quoted as saying by IRNA.
According to Ardeshir Sa’ad Mohammadi, Sungun copper reserves were estimated at 320 million tons three to four years ago, but currently they have risen to 2 billion tons, of which 1.3 billion tons are deemed “economically feasible”.
According to a member of Majlis Industries and Mines Commission, the value of Sungun copper reserves stands at $320 billion, equivalent to 10 years of the Iran's exports.
“At the current rate, copper extraction from the Sungun mine will last 380 years and even if the current annual production of 300,000 tons of concentrate triples, it will take 130 years to thoroughly extract the mine’s reserves,” he added.
Sa’ad Mohammadi noted that investments in Sungun copper mine will exceed 350,000 billion rials ($1.29 billion) in the coming years.
“We have purchased 15 modern drilling rigs that will enter Iran in the next three months, of which five will be installed in the Sungun copper mine,” he added.