|37 foreign firms ready to invest in Iran’s mining projects: deputy industry minister||
TEHRAN – Studies show that 37 foreign companies have announced readiness since mid-summer to invest in Iran’s mining projects, Iran’s deputy minister of industry said.
Mehdi Karbasian added that the number of foreign companies which are ready to participate in Iran’s mining projects is on the rise, IRNA reported.
One of the main policies of the administration is to encourage Iranian investors living overseas to participate in domestic development projects, Karbasian said.
About 45 producers sent representatives to a steel conference last month in Tehran to study export opportunities and investing in Iran’s domestic industry, he noted.
As economic sanctions eased last month under a temporary accord, Iran is shaping up as a hot, untapped opportunity for Western steel exporters, particularly high-grade varieties.
ArcelorMittal and Russia’s OAO Novolipetsk Steel have mills in central Asia that supplied Iran before sanctions in 2007, when it imported 12.2 million tons a year of the metal, valued at $6 billion today. Other steelmakers are quietly testing the waters.
Iran imported 5.6 million tons of steel in 2012 compared with 12.2 million tons in 2007, according to data from the World Steel Association. Iran used 20.2 million tons in 2012, 37 percent of the total for the Middle East.
In 2012, former Iranian industry minister Mehdi Ghazanfari said that Iran possesses two percent of the world’s total mineral reserves.
He added that the mineral reserves include 12 metal and 36 non-metal ores.
About 5,000 mines are being exploited in the country, he stated.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Geology and Mineral Exploration Organization Deputy Director Behrouz Borna has said that the Islamic Republic of Iran has the largest mineral reserves in the Middle East.
Iran is also one of the top 15 countries in the world in regard to mineral reserves and exports its industrial and mineral products to 159 countries, including Iraq, China, the United Arab Emirates, India, and Afghanistan, he stated.
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