Shakouri said on Saturday that the country exported more than $1 billion worth of copper cathode, a basic product widely used in various industries, in the last Iranian calendar year which ended in March 2019.
Shakouri said sanctions imposed on Iran have only restricted the country’s ability to directly ship its copper to traditional destinations like Europe, Japan and South Korea, adding that China is currently Iran’s main copper customer, and export to other destinations is carried out via third countries.
“Generally, the sanctions have failed to significantly impact (Iran’s) mineral industries as it is impossible to determine to which country a mineral product belongs” Shakouri highlighted.
“Export can easily be carried out via a third country while our copper is equivalent to that of Chile and Mexico in terms of purity and it is difficult to spot any difference,” he added.
Shakouri said Iran currently exports more than 70 percent of its copper production, adding that the value of the country’s export can reach a target of $5 billion if small mines across Iran are activated and the country increases its concentrate production.
Iran produced a total of 220,000 tons of copper cathode in the 12-month period ending last March. Mines across the country, including the sprawling Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex in the southeastern Kerman province, produced more than a million tons of copper concentrate in the same period, according to recent figures provided by the Iranian government.
Shakouri said Iran can reach a target of 450,000 tons of copper cathode production in a near future if concentrate production keeps increasing at the current pace.
Back in mid-February, Iran announced that it had produced more than 200,000 tons of copper cathode in the 10-month period between March 21, 2018 and January 21, 2019, indicating a 61% growth compared with corresponding period in the year before.
Another statistical report showed that Sarcheshmeh Refinery Unit in Kerman province produced 117,643 tons of copper cathode in the same period, recording a significant 147 percent growth in a year-on-year comparison.
Sarcheshmeh Refinery Unit accounted for approx. 59 percent share of country’s total copper production volume.
Likewise, copper anode production volume from March 21 – Jan. 21 hit 257,833 tons, showing a considerable 68 percent growth as compared to the last year’s corresponding period.
Source: Fars News Agency