Business And Markets

Exploring Opportunities at Tehran Mining Fair

Exploring Opportunities at Tehran Mining Fair
Exploring Opportunities at Tehran Mining Fair

Minex 2014 kicked off at Imam Khomeini Mosalla in central Tehran, showcasing the latest equipment and mining technologies, domestic productions, and related services. It also introduces investment opportunities in the country's mining sector.

The three-day event simultaneously hosts the 3rd annual exhibition of mines and mining industries, the 3rd conference on investment opportunities in the sector, and the 5th conference on mining engineering.

The exhibition is being held at a venue as big as 10,000 square meters, and is a perfect opportunity for foreign investors in the light of removal or easing of sanctions imposed on Iran during the past few years over Tehran's nuclear energy program. More than 180 companies are present at this year's event including 30 foreign companies and dozens of other foreign firms which jointly operate with Iranian companies.  

Minex has been established with the aims to attract investors and with the opportunities in Iran's mining industry and all the sectors related to the industry such as machineries, research, geology, exploration, and surveying, Hormoz Nasernia, president of Iran Mining Engineering Organization, told Financial Tribune.

Nasernia, a veteran mining engineer, said the country's mining industry lacks mining equipment and machineries. Iranian mine owners have numerous problems when it comes to importing machineries. The high duty imposed on second hand machineries is causing the mining sector to encounter obstacles.

This year's Minex does not only deal with exploration opportunities and excavation techniques, but we are reflecting the practical challenges facing the mining sector, said Nasernia, adding that in Minex 2014, there are workshops in which mining companies can be familiar with the latest technologies and techniques.

As many as 40 ambassadors and commercial attaches visited the exhibition on the first day. According to the South African ambassador to Iran, William Max Whitehead, the envoys are the messengers who let the entire world know about the ample opportunities in Iran's mining industry.

The foreign companies attending the Minex 2014 are to hold meetings with the officials at the organization for investment, economic, and technical assistance of Iran in order to be briefed on the latest incentives the government has offered to foreign investors in mining industry.

Another significant ancillary activity in Minex 2014 is the plan to commercialize research and academic projects. There are two Iranian companies at this exhibition tasked with helping the researchers find investors and financers for their projects to be commercialized.  

The country's high potential in mining sector has not been properly introduced to the public. If the Geological Survey of Iran (GSI), that is responsible for carrying out geological and mineral investigations throughout the country, widely publicizes the information on the country's mineral resources, then many domestic investors will definitely finance mining projects. Unfortunately, there is resistance to publicize the data on mineral resources by those who want to enjoy the monopoly in mining industry.

Proper Investment Venue

The fact that Iran is one of the biggest emerging markets, joined by numerous other factors such as inexpensive energy, affordable labor, and educated labor force, have made the country a desirable place for foreign companies to invest in.

Azad Khosroshahi is a marketing expert who has managed to persuade the Canadian mines and metals trading firm, ISCO, to conduct a research project in Iran to recover nickel.

Khosroshahi said the pilot project would help Iran make the best use of steel production and concentrate on alloy steel instead of merely manufacturing black steel which is much lower in value compared to steel with other alloying elements in addition to the carbon.

As a country with the world's largest zinc reserves, Iran has not been properly using the opportunity to become the leading country in zinc production. The private sector is not supported by the government the way it should be, said Kourosh Tavakoli, a commercial expert who works for an Iranian private zinc production company, Imico.

We are not given sufficient quantities of sulfidic ore deposits, otherwise we would significantly increase our production, Tavakoli said.

Zinc is the fourth most common metal in use, trailing only iron, aluminum, and copper with an annual production of about 12 million tons. About 70% of the world's zinc originates from mining, while the remaining 30% comes from recycling secondary zinc, continued Tavakoli, regretting that Iran does not have the opportunity to mass produce the strategic metal.