Economy, Business And Markets

2 Aluminum Plants Under Construction

2 Aluminum Plants Under Construction 2 Aluminum Plants Under Construction

Plans are underway to increase domestic aluminum production capacity from the current 470,000 tons per year to 800,000 tons by 2020, says Deputy Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mehdi Karbasian.

Two plants are under construction, one in Fars with a nominal capacity of 300,000 tons per year and the other in North Khorasan provinces with a capacity of 36,000 tons, according to the official, who is also the head of Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization. Karbasian says the plans will become operational in two and a half years.

In a broader objective, Iran aims to produce 1.5 million tons of aluminum ingots per year, as stipulated in the National Vision Plan (2005-25). To realize this ambitious target, Karbasian says, more than $10 billion of investment is needed.

Meanwhile, finding the raw material to produce the silver-white metal is a challenge in its own right amid limited bauxite reserves in the country. Iran’s only source of bauxite is located in the city of Jajrom in North Khorasan Province, with reserves of less than 20 million tons.

Karbasian says talks are underway with Australia and India to buy the domestic industry with the required feedstock.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that it is possible to replace bauxite with nepheline syenite beneficiation to produce alumina. Fortunately, reserves of about 1.2 billion tons of this mineral have been discovered in Sarab City of East Azarbaijan Province and investments have been made to extract this mineral. Using nepheline syenite for alumina production is about 20% cheaper than bauxite and its byproducts can be used for making cement and sodium, potassium and phosphate carbonates.

Iran produced 350,000 tons of aluminum ingots in the past fiscal year that ended in March. About $214 million worth of aluminum products were exported during the period, while imports stood at $344 million.