Geneva, February 29 (QNA) – HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the promotion and protection of human rights are strategic choices for Qatar which that state has been working to achieve by laying their foundations …
MANAMA, Feb. 18 (NNN-Petra) — The Jordanian embassy in Bahrain, on Wednesday, took part in the second consultative meeting of Arab cultural attaches being held in Manama.In opening remarks, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Bahrain, Sheikh Azzam Mubarak Al-Sabah,…
Iran’s rich deposits of zinc, copper, gold and other minerals are tempting international investors after the lifting of Western sanctions, but development of the sector will take time and problems will have to be overcome.
A slump in metals prices and uncertainty about working with the Tehran government, which controls virtually all the country’s mines, means that many foreign mining firms are not scrambling to sign deals.
Nevertheless, some agreements have already been struck and other foreign firms have been looking at Iran’s mining and metals sector in the weeks following the scrapping of sanctions as part of a nuclear deal, which went into force last month.
Iran, which boasts one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc projects and myriad other mines, has been trying to lure investors since it became clear that sanctions would be lifted under last year’s deal signed by Tehran and six world powers.
Iran’s state-owned mines and metal holding company IMIDRO told an Australian mining conference in November that its mining sector needed $20 billion of investment by 2025.
“Iran absolutely has world class mining assets, which have hitherto been shrouded from investors, but we’re in the depths of one of the darkest, worst downturns in mining for some time,” said Neil Passmore, chief executive of Hannam & Partners boutique merchant bank in London.
The slump in commodity prices has hit international mining firms, forcing them to sell assets, cut dividends and slash capital spending to preserve cash, but some deals with Iran are still being done.
“During the six to 12 months that it’s looked likely sanctions would be lifted, people have been starting to do some work and now that things have opened up, they’re increasing the pace,” Passmore added.
In India, national aluminum company NALCO (NALU.NS) said last month it planned to send a team to Iran to explore setting up a smelter worth about $2 billion and state-run KIOCL is considering building an iron ore pellet complex.
Other companies from Italy and China to South Korea have either signed deals or are looking into possibilities.
But highlighting the uncertainty among potential investors, NALCO said it was also looking at Oman and Qatar as possible sites for its aluminum smelter.
A spokesman for global miner Rio Tinto (RIO.L) (RIO.AX), which was previously involved in the Sara Gunay gold project in Iran, said there was no work being done by their exploration team regarding the country.
Chief Executive Mark Bristow of Randgold Resources (RRS.L), which has experience of mining in risky areas of Africa, told Reuters the firm was not interested in Iran.
Dealing with Iran, which is beset by political infighting between pragmatic and hardline factions, can be complex and time consuming. Foreign energy executives hoping to invest in oil and gas fields there complain Tehran has still not revealed contract terms, abruptly cancelling a conference due to be held this month when they had expected it to do so.
Although minerals development may take years, Iran’s bounty and low energy costs will eventually build it into a substantial player in the global metals industry, analysts say.
Iran’s Mehdiabad project is one of the world’s largest zinc deposits, which was previously due to be developed by Australian’s Union Resources, with annual output of 300,000 tonnes a year.
Iran says it has 68 types of minerals, including iron ore, coal, gold and copper with total reserves of 43 billion tonnes.
Besides growing as a producer, the country of 80 million people is also set to help boost global demand for metals since it is the biggest economy to rejoin the global trading system since Russia, following the breakup of the Soviet Union over two decades ago.
“As they get more oil revenue, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t look to diversify the economy and drive metals exports,” said Robin Bhar, head of metals research at Societe Generale in London.
“It plays both ways, as they’re welcomed back into the international fold, hopefully they’ll also contribute to the demand side of the ledger, as they’ve got a young and rising population.”
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Eric Onstad; editing by David Stamp)
Brussels/Information Office / 2 February 2016/HE President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker met with HE Head of Qatar’s Mission to the European Union Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Al-Thani. During the meeting which was held at the headquarters of…
MANAMA, Bahrain, Bahrain will meet Qatar in the final of the 17th Asian Men’s Handball Championships on Thursday (tomorrow), after they beat Japan and Saudi Arabia, respectively, on Tuesday.Bahrain defeated Japan 29-23, while Qatar smashed Saudi Arabi…