By Mahnaz Abdi

Outlook plan required for copper industry development

October 21, 2019 - 21:22

Holding 34 million tons of copper reserves, Iran accounts for four present of the world’s total reserves of this metal which is 830 million tons.

But the country’s production of copper is just 1.5 percent of the global figure and it is why preparing an outlook plan for the development of copper industry in Iran seems necessary.

Preparation of such plan, at the first step, requires removing various barriers this industry is facing. Some of these hindrances are mentioned as follows.

Lack of liquidity, low technology, fluctuations in commodity market, investment challenges, inflation, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rate, and also limitations created by the sanctions have been mentioned as some of the major obstacles in the way of developing copper industry in Iran.

For implementation of copper projects a number of barriers have been mentioned including not-realistic schedule and illogical deadline for implementation, weakness in management, lack of expert engineers in some fields, objectives being unclear for the team, changes in the project, weakness in risk management, and lack of balance between authorities and responsibilities of the directors.

Some experts and those active in copper industry also believe that the government’s interference is high in some parts of this industry, and it is another challenge in the way of development.

They say that through different bylaws the government makes the producers confused and interrupts their planning.

Downstream industries are also facing obstacles for development in this sector, as their production is not economically viable in many fields; therefore, the country should take steps for making operations such as melting and refining economically viable through providing necessary condition.

Although the statistics released by the Ministry of Industry, Mining and Trade indicate that copper production in the country is on a rising trend, as the output has increased 18 percent during the first half of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-September 22) compared to the first half of the past year, it should not be used as an excuse for ignoring the existing impediments.

Because due to a number of factors including the rising trend of using electric vehicles and growth in IT industry throughout the world, demand for copper is increasing, and that is why Iran should develop its domestic industry to achieve a larger share of the global market of this mineral.

Expansion of exploration and discovery activities, boosting productivity of production units, promotion of technology, and scrap copper recycling are some strategies that the industry experts refer to for development of copper sector.

The good news is that Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Reza Rahmani has announced that some fruitful activities are being conducted in mining sector of the country and in fact a revolution is underway in this sector which promises some good future. 

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