Iran unveils $29 billion mining projects
Iran has introduced $29 billion worth of mining projects to a trade and investment conference held with the EU in Vienna to discuss post-sanction opportunities for cooperation.
The projects include production of aluminum, steel, rare earth elements, copper, gold and coal by tapping Iran’s mineral reserves, Deputy Industry Minister Mehdi Karbasian said.
“Current projects have a value of $9 billion and future schemes are worth $20 billion,” said the official, projecting they would create about 70,000 jobs when they get underway.
Karbasian said under the new mining development plan, prospective investors will be provided with accurate figures about the reserves of any given mine in order to raise confidence about the viability of development projects.
Some of the major mining projects involve production of steel which the country plans to quadruple to 55 million tons a year by 2025 to in order keep pace with demand in its industry and an economy being billed as one of the emerging Next Eleven.
Steel is a strategic commodity for the country of about 80 million. It is crucial to Iran’s massive oil and gas industry and its automotive sector which is the Middle East’s largest.
Iran has also a massive transportation and water supply network and a mammoth construction sector as well as sprawling urban centers which devour steel in stupendous quantities.
The Iran-EU trade and investment conference in Vienna brought together officials and traders from the resource-rich country as well as Austria, France, Germany, the UK and other countries to discuss opportunities for trade.
At the opening of the two-day forum, Iranian officials pledged to splash out more than $180 billion on oil and gas projects.
Trade, however, is expected to take off at a slow pace as Iran’s return to the international financial fold is bound to take time.
Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh told the conference that Iran expected to rejoin the international electronic payment system or SWIFT three month after the sanctions are lifted.
Iran’s reintegration into SWIFT is crucial for trade, without which Tehran faced enormous challenges for banking transfers for years.
Nematzadeh said he expected international banks to re-establish links with Iran as the sanctions relief comes to effect.