MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Iran is seeking $50 billion in investment for its mining industries out to 2022 and has signed agreements with several European and Asian banks in the past few months, the country’s deputy mining minister said on Wednesday.
“We are in need of $50 billion for investment in the mining and mining industries of Iran,” Mehdi Karbasian told Reuters, speaking on the sidelines of the Imarc mining conference in Melbourne.
“In the past two months we have had agreements with South Korea, with Austria, with Denmark and it’s on the way for other countries like Germany,” Karbasian said, without identifying investors.
He said the plan was to attract capital across five years, but declined to say how much Iran had raised so far.
Karbasian said that the country was also looking for partnerships with unspecified foreign miners and manufacturers.
“We are trying our best to find the right investors...Mines and factories are some of the opportunities for foreign companies to invest.”
As part of Iran’s expansion plans for its resources industry, it is planning to raise its aluminium production to 1.5 million tonnes annually by 2025 from around 450,000 tonnes last year it has said. For that, it needs to secure more bauxite resources from overseas.
Iran is in talks with bauxite producers in Australia and Brazil, Karbasian said, and will participate in an international bauxite tender in the next two months with its Guinean partner, Societe des Bauxites de Dabola-Tougue (SBDT).
Iran’s state-owned holding company IMIDRO is already the majority investor in SBDT, with 51 percent, and mine development has picked up since the two nations renewed a 25-year agreement in 2015.
“We are talking to some Australian and Brazilian companies and to other Guinean and Dominican companies as well,” Karbasian said.
Iran is also seeking to increase its copper cathode production to 800,000 tonnes a year by 2025.
Meanwhile Karbasian said he hoped a change in stance by the United States under President Donald Trump on relations with Iran won’t create headwinds for its investment aim.
Trump said earlier this month that he would not continue to certify the multinational 2015 agreement that lifted sanctions on Iran for containing its nuclear program and warned that he might ultimately terminate it.
“The Iran sanctions (lifting ) was several years back,” the deputy minister said.
“After the agreement happened, it was approved by the United Nations with Iran. It was a green way for working with Iran. We respect this agreement and it’s just Mr Trump said that he doesn’t like this agreement,” Karbasian said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s director-general said on Monday that Iran is fulfilling commitments under the nuclear deal with world powers, and U.N. inspectors are facing no problems in their verification efforts.
Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell