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Iran is anticipating massive demand for its copper from Turkey in the coming years and is investing $1bn to expand copper production. Iran is opening one of the largest aluminum smelters in the Middle East with over $1bn in investment.

Iran Copper Smelter

Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex in the southeastern Iranian province of Kerman.

Head of the National Iranian Copper Industries Company (NICICO) Ardeshir Sa’ad Mohammadi said on Thursday that around $1 billion had already been invested in mining and production of copper in the East Azerbaijan province, a center of industry and business near the Iranian-Turkish border.

Iran is looking to increase exports to Turkey where demand for the precious metal is expected to surge in the coming years. Investment plans were aimed to allow Iran raise its share of copper exports to Turkey, a country he said is importing 500,000 tons of copper cathode from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan each year.

Sa’ad Mohammadi said NICICO’s main objective was to enable the copper industry in East Azerbaijan to capture at least 20 percent of Turkey’s import market within the next two years. He added that main copper projects introduced in the region included a smelter, a refinery and a third phase of concentrate production at the sprawling Sungun Mine. The mine the largest open-cast copper mine in Iran located around 150 kilometers from the provincial capital of Tabriz, Iran’s sixth largest city.

Iran is developing its mines and metals deposits at a rapid rate as it feels the pressure of the American sanctions as it looks for alternatives to it's normal oil revenues. At the same time the United States has specifically targeted Iran’s trade and production of metals with a series of bans since May this year.

A key figure in Iran’s copper industry says export of the industrial metal continues despite sanctions. Sa’ad Mohammadi said development of the copper industry in northwest Iran was an urgent necessity given the rising demand for the metal in the world.

The first phase of the largest aluminum smelter in Iran, known as SALCO, is to be opened in the upcoming weeks as authorities seek to compensate for the losses suffered over the past decades in the domestic production of the primary metal. The IRNA news agency said in a Saturday report that SALCO, located in the city of Lemerd in the southern tip of the Fars province and near the Persian Gulf, will reach 300,000 tons of aluminum output in its first phase of production.

Sa’ad Mohammadi said the European Union had identified copper as a primary field for investment mainly because of the demand that would be created as a result of electrification in the automotive industry. He added amaximum of 20 kilograms of copper is used in the production of normal cars, adding that the figure increases fourfold to 80 kilograms in the electric cars.

The effect of US sanctions is it has redirected Iran to focus more and more on domestic production and efficiency.

Source: PressTV

From The TradersCommunity Research Desk

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