Press TV – Iran has seen its copper exports doubled in the past calendar year ending March 19 despite a series of bitter sanctions imposed by the United States aimed at hampering the Islamic Republic’s trade of lucrative metals.
A senior official at IMIDRO, Iran’s largest metals and mining holding, said on Sunday that the value of exports for main copper products reached more than $1 billion over the past year.
Mohammad Aqajanlou said that total sales of the National Iranian Copper Industry Company (NICICO) topped 220 trillion rials, nearly $1.5 billion, a milestone in the 48-year-history of the company.
Aqajanlou added that total turnover for the Iranian copper industry exceeded $4.5 billion over the past year and the NICICO posted a return on investment of 143 percent.
He said another historic achievement for the copper smelters in Iran was to reach a total output of 1.18 million metric tons of concentrate last year while production for copper cathode reached an all-time high of 250,130 tons.
He said that copper cathode accounted for more than two thirds of total domestic consumption for purified copper which was over 160,000 tons over the past year.
That means that copper concentrate, a relatively raw from of the metal, accounted for a bulk of Iran’s exports, an issue which has faced criticism with many believing the NICICO should create more capacity for using copper concentrate inside Iran rather than shipping it in large quantities to countries like China.
Aqajanlou rejected the criticism and said the current supply and demand situation in the Iranian copper industry makes exports of concentrates more preferable.
Some experts also believe that rising exports for raw copper at a time of increased American bans on Iran’s trade of lucrative metals could also help the government access new hard currency resources.
The United States imposed its extensive sanctions on Iran’s metals industry on May 2019, exactly a year after it withdrew from an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and prepared its tough sanctions on the country’s sale of crude.