IRAN - Iran proposes investment in Afghan iron ore project

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Afghanistan as saying that Iran has asked to extract iron ore from a mine in Herat but the two neighbors have yet to reach an agreement on where to process it. Tolo News TV quoted acting minister of mines Ms Nargis Nehan as saying that Iran wants to transfer the extracted materials to an ore processing plant on its soil across the border but Afghanistan is opposed to the idea.

The broadcaster quoted her as saying that “We have a policy based on which extracted mineral resources should be processed inside Afghanistan.”

The Sangan mine which Iran is interested to invest in is shared by the two countries but Tehran has already started tapping its part of the reserves.

Ms Nehan said that “Iran is interested to extract the mineral resources in Afghanistan as it needs raw materials for its machinery.”

Earlier this month, Iran’s Ambassador in Kabul Mohammad Reza Bahrami said the two countries had started talks on Iranian investment in Afghanistan’s mining sector.

Mr Bahrami said that “We have held talks with Afghanistan’s government on investment in mines in the country, particularly the Sangan mine.”

Sangan has been branded as the “South Pars” of Iran’s steel industry, drawing a comparison with a giant gas reservoir that straddles the territorial waters of Iran and Qatar.

According to state mines and metals holding company IMIDRO chairman Mehdi Karbasian, of the 2.7 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves in Iran, one billion tonnes are in Sangan which has already used up USD 1 billion of investment to operate.

In 2015, Karbasian said five domestic consortia and another consortium comprised of two Chinese and four Iranian firms had undertaken to provide investment.

Some of the purchases for the project were made from Italian foundry equipment maker Danieli SpA before the Europeans intensified sanctions on Iran in 2011.

After the lifting of the sanctions in 2016, Finland’s engineering group Outotec was awarded an 11 million euro contract by China’s Shangdong Province Metallurgical Engineering Co for the delivery of the dewatering process equipment to the second phase of the Sangan iron concentrate project.

Source : PRESSTV