Dam Coop. Discussed With S. Africa

Dam Coop. Discussed With S. AfricaDam Coop. Discussed With S. Africa

Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian explored the prospect of building dams in South Africa in a meeting with the country's water and sanitation minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, in Tehran.

"Iran and South Africa have a history of solid cooperation … The two countries are willing to expand economic ties," he was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency on Tuesday.

"Iran is keen to cooperate with Africa's most advanced industry in building dams, hydroelectric plants and water and wastewater treatment units," he said, adding that the Persian Gulf country exports technical and engineering services in the water sector to more than 40 countries.

Iran is the world’s third leading country in dam construction, with some 200 contracting companies, 70 consultant firms, 30 corporations and hundreds of hydroelectric manufacturing units implementing projects in 40 countries.

Over the past three decades, it has built 600 dams, an average of 20 a year, to irrigate farms and provide electricity.

Tehran has adopted a "pragmatic" approach in negotiations with Pretoria, because "starting a practical project is better than signing deals that do not come into effect", Chitchian said.

He added that the Iranian MAPNA group–a consortium of companies involved in the construction and installation of energy production machinery—can team up with South African firms in the construction of water treatment and refinery plants, as well as pipe production.

Mokonyane said South Africa is grappling with a scarcity of potable water and hopes to expand ties with the Islamic Republic. He also called on Tehran to help develop its health infrastructure.

The South African envoy was part of an 80-strong delegation, including government officials and trade representatives who explored investment opportunities in Iran in the post-sanctions period.

On Sunday, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh discussed the prospect of building an oil refinery in South Africa with the country's deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, with crude supply to South Africa touted as a key issue in rekindling Tehran-Pretoria ties.

Tehran was once the biggest oil supplier to South Africa, contributing around 25% of its total oil demand, or around 380,000 bpd.