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InterviewIranian/foreign joint companies hit the mines

Iranian/foreign joint companies hit the mines

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2016/01/05Date:
Iran possesses one of the most important mineral reserves in the world and is considered among the leading countries in minerals such as copper, zinc, lead, iron, and aluminum. Currently, considering the new ambience and the green light shown by foreign companies to operate in Iran, a possibility exists for large-scale investment in this sector by foreign companies. In this regard, we spoke to Dr. Mehdi Karbassian of the Development and Renovation Organization of Iran
What is the current status of attracting foreign investment in the minerals and mining industries?
Companies that over the past eight to nine years were only interested in trade and industry exchange are now willing to invest in Iran. Of course, some companies and corporations totally cut their ties with us in the last government, but with the change of government and professional attitudes toward foreign investors; they declared their readiness to return. These countries also have concluded that sanctions were oppressive and should be removed. If foreign delegates were not satisfied, the record of demands for investment in Iran would have never been broken. Meanwhile, countries unfamiliar with Iran have also made their interest known. They have realized that Iran is ready for investment and that it is different from all other regional countries. With manpower, mining, oil, and gas resources, a strategic position and high level of security, Iran has created huge demand for investment.
Is investment by foreign companies subject to the final agreement on the nuclear debate?
No, not all contracts and collaborations are subject to a final nuclear agreement. Currently, companies have begun cooperating with Iran. For instance, collaborations with the Mahdiabad zinc mine and with two steel plants along the Persian Gulf were not dependent upon a nuclear agreement. Certainly, with the removal of sanctions, further foreign investment can be attracted. Meanwhile, joint Iranian-foreign companies have been established to work on mineral and mining industry projects. In operational terms, the number of foreign companies that have independently come to Iran is small, but demands are rapidly growing. With improvement in the nuclear talks, foreign investors can be steered toward exchanging contracts and commencing work. To attract foreign and Iranian investors living abroad,Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization(IMIDRO) has invited all credible global companies and brands to meet in Iran in June. This international meeting will develop cooperation. Moreover, unlike previously, when the introductory package of potential investments in mining was not ready, we have been able to separately sum up different investment opportunities in Iran.
How many applications have you received?
There has been a huge demand. Thus, we have set up a committee to introduce opportunities for investment in Iran and to answer questions. Thus, we can promise that no application will remain unanswered.
Which sectors have attracted the greatest cooperation?
In Iran, there are 68 different types of minerals, and except in particular cases, no serious work has been done on other minerals such as coal, stone, iron, copper, or rare soils. Thus, we intend to undertake appropriate cooperation in these areas with China and some European countries.
Will there be incentives for foreign investors?
Since the rules are conducive to attracting foreign investment,there is no reason not to consider special incentives. The main problem is sanctions and money transfer, which we hope to resolve quickly. According to the law, exploitation from mines can be assigned to foreign investor companies for 25 years. Therefore, if problems with money transfer are resolved, a substantial amount of investment can be attracted.
Which countries have declared their readiness to collaborate in the mining sector in Iran?
A large number of companies have signaled their readiness to invest in Iran, including multinational companies from Germany, Demark, Kazakhstan, and India, and Persian Gulf countries such as Oman andKuwait. Moreover, many applications have also been received from countries such as Australia, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Canada, England, France, and South Korea. Despite previous collaborations, China andRussia have also declared their readiness. The above countries began their negotiations with the establishment of the eleventh government. Various countries have e-mailed their applications or send envoys to Iran. Accordingly, one of the sectors that has been hugely welcomed by foreign investors is mining. Of course, the Swiss manifesto has not been ineffective in increasing investors’ enthusiasm. Developed countries are willing to invest in Iran.
In which areas of mining are foreign companies willing to invest?
Foreign companies are willing to invest in iron ore, copper, coal, and gold. A country like Germany wishes to invest in steel and copper and to provide equipment and machinery. Multinational companies from India (American partners) and Australia also want to invest in mining, from exploration to extraction and processing. France intends to collaborate in setting up factories and machinery, and IMIDRO wants to attract foreign investment to make up for falling behind in previous years. In this regard, the laws are conducive to attracting foreign investors.