مس

Iran has found new copper reserves of around 528 million metric tons to become the world’s seventh largest holder of such reserves, says an industry chief.

Head of the National Iranian Copper Industries Company (NICICO) said that more reserves could be found in the near future enabling Iran to outweigh Indonesia in the terms of the size of copper reserves.

“Our country currently holds 4.2 percent of the global reserves,” said Ardeshir Sa’admohammadi, adding that new copper discoveries had been reported in southeast and northwestern Iran.

That comes as Iran had the ninth largest reserves of copper in 2011 at 32.5 million tons.

The country has been investing heavily in the mining and metals sector amid efforts to diversify the economy away from oil and create new sources of income for the government.

Iran has already pocketed billions of dollars from exports of various metals despite a series of American sanctions targeting the industry since May 2019.

Sa’admohammadi said key copper reserves in Iran, which are located in provinces of Kerman and East Azerbaijan, would serve more than 100 years of output at current production level.

He said Iran plans billion of dollars of new investment in the copper industry in the next 10 years.

The NICICO chief said, however, that four new copper smelters are due to open in Iran to add nearly 150,000 tons to the current capacity for production of copper concentrates.

Iran produced 1.1 million tons of copper concentrates in the year ending March while copper cathode production topped a quarter of million tons in the same period.

Sa’admohammadi said figures recorded last year were unprecedented, adding that cathode production is planned to reach 300,000 by March 2022.

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