Iran - Official: Iran to Tender 15 Mining Projects

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Iran will tender 15 mining projects for development within the next four months, rolling out its massive sector for international investment, Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mehdi Karbasian says.

The projects include production of iron ore, steel, chromite, aluminum, bauxite, copper, zinc and gold, and agreements are expected to be signed when President Hassan Rouhani visits France and Italy in November, he said.

Iran’s tender for development of a new gold deposit in Takestan near Zanjan just expired on Sunday. The country plans to triple its gold output to 10 million metric tons.

France, Italy, Russia and China plan investment in Iran’s vast but largely undeveloped mining sector, Karbasian said earlier this month.

Italian companies are interested in aluminum and steel projects and French firms are eyeing aluminum and "technical cooperation”, Karbasian said, cited by the financial news and data provider Bloomberg on Monday in a new interview.

Japan’s leading steelmakers have also indicated interest in Iran’s mining projects, including production of precious metals such as titanium.

Executives of Kobe Steel Ltd, Japan’s fourth-biggest steelmaker, and the State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) met officials in Tehran in August and discussed plans for cooperation.

"We will not put any restrictions on the participation of international companies interested in Iran’s mining industry,” Karbasian said.

"Interested parties can come forward for 100% ownership or enter into joint partnerships with us or do so with a local or international company of their choice,” he added.

According to Bloomberg, Iran’s aluminum production will grow to 1 million metric tons by next year from 820,000 tons in 2013, and copper output will rise to 500,000 tons by 2020 compared with 220,000 tons in 2013.

Iran is also seeking $20 billion to develop a domestic steel industry, it quoted head of international affairs at the Iranian Iron Ore Producers and Exporters Association Kayvan Jafari Tehrani as saying.

The country’s production of iron ore, used to make steel, will reportedly rise to 40 million tons next year from 38 million tons in 2013. Steel output is set to jump to 55 million tons by 2025 from 22 million tons this year, Karbasian said in August.