TEHRAN (TCA) — Iran’s mining sector now attracts more foreign investors, with companies from China and Europe lining up to take part in one of the least developed industries in the resource-rich country as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is visiting Italy and France between January 25 and 27, Iran’s PressTV news agency reported.
“Several memorandums worth 5 billion euros have been prepared with Italy for investment in Iran’s mining industries,” Iran’s Deputy Industry, Mine and Trade Minister Mehdi Karbasian said on Monday.
The MoUs envisage joint investments in the steel production chain in southern Iran, he said.
Italy’s Persiana Metalica would have a majority 60% stake compared to 40% for Iran’s IMIDRO in the ventures, Karbasian added.
The Italians would also partner Iranian and Chinese companies on carrying out the second phase of Salco, the largest aluminum smelter plant in Iran.
Karbasian said another MoU has been prepared with France’s Fiault company for downstream aluminum projects which the two sides hope to finalize during Rouhani’s visit to Paris.
Japan’s leading steelmakers have also indicated interest in Iran’s mining projects, including production of titanium.
Iran received Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tehran last Saturday, accompanied by a large trade delegation. During the visit, several major Chinese firms discussed financing coal production in Tabas in central Iran and Ziraba in the northern Mazandaran province, Karbasian said.
Other Chinese companies are about to begin aluminum and zinc projects in a month, he added.
Karbasian said Iran could tender new mines for development amid massive exploration underway to establish their reserves.
Fifteen projects for production of iron ore, steel, chromite, aluminum, bauxite, copper, zinc and gold are to be rolled out for investment, he said.