Foreign Players Optimistic About Mining Cooperation
Economy, Business And Markets

Foreign Players Optimistic About Mining Cooperation

The two-day Iran Mines and Mining Industries Conference (IMIS 2015), held in Tehran last week, provided an opportunity for foreign mining industry experts to discuss the future of Iran’s mining sector.
Representatives from giant global mining companies, international analysts and foreign government officials participated in the event to assess the opportunities and risks in Iran’s mining sector in terms of investment security, infrastructure and tax regulations.
The foreign participants expressed optimism that a possible lifting of sanctions-imposed against Iran by the West over its nuclear energy program-would change the scenario of Iran’s mining and mineral industries for the better. They also expressed eagerness to cooperate with Iran in mining projects after the removal of sanctions, IRNA reported.

President and CEO of Finland’s Outotec mining technology company Pertti Korhonen said he was optimistic that the sanctions would end soon. Referring to previous collaborations between Iran and Finland in mining activities, Korhonen anticipated that the lifting of sanctions would lead to a boost in the number of joint projects. He noted that Iran’s mining sector has huge capacity for attracting investments.

Werner Schoeltzke, managing director of German company Entracon, believes Iran has huge potential for investment in the aluminum sector due to availability of ample natural gas reserves, access to international waters through southern ports and four decades of experience in the industry.
Describing aluminum production as an energy-intensive industry, Schoeltzke said Iran can easily supply the required electricity to the aluminum plants using its rich natural gas reserves. He recalled that Iran was the first country in the Middle East to establish an aluminum ingot facility in the 1970s adding that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar have also increased their aluminum production capacities considerably in recent years.
The German manager recommended decision-makers in the industry to make use of private sector investments and technical capabilities to increase annual aluminum output by 1 million tons per year. He emphasized that Iran’s abundant energy sources and its ideal geographical location could play a crucial role in boosting production of aluminum ingots.

A majority shareholder in Kazakhstan’s SRS mining company, Kassylova Gulmira, said in view of the numerous international calls to participate in Iran’s mining sector, revising the country’s investment regulations would enable more foreign financiers to step in. She said some international mining firms are currently cooperating with Iran based on buyback contracts, noting that these contracts also need to be revised.
The expert suggested increasing transparency in regulations pertaining to customs procedures, foreign investment and transfer of ownership rights, taxes and foreign companies’ shares in various mines to attract foreign investors.
“Iran’s mining sector needs skilled international experts as well as advanced machinery and equipment to progress and extend its cooperation with international mining companies,” she suggested.

Craig Moulton, a former manager at Rio Tinto’s copper and iron ore group, highlighted the governments’ role in supporting mining exploration and extraction, noting that this would encourage international mining corporations to invest in the country.
“Stability of regulations, investment guarantees, reasonable taxes and transparent geological information” were mentioned by the expert as key factors in absorbing foreign investments.
Mining company managers from Switzerland and China also shared views on challenges and opportunities in Iran’s mining industry at the IMIS 2015.

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