GENEVA – (Reuters) – Iran plans to invest around 8.5 billion euros ($11.4 billion) in its aluminium industry as part of plans to nearly quadruple production by 2025, an official at mining group Imidro said on Thursday.
Iran is the 20th largest producer of aluminium in the world, according to the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation (Imidro), and needs the extra supplies to meet demand which is growing by 10 percent a year.
Aluminium is a lightweight metal used widely in transport, packaging and construction. It can also be used to make tubes for uranium enrichment gas centrifuges.
Iran’s economy has been hobbled by western sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran to stop efforts to enrich uranium to levels that could be used in weapons.
Iran produced 338,000 tonnes of aluminium last year and is aiming for 770,000 tonnes in 2016 and 1.5 million tonnes by 2025, Panthea Geramishoar, senior expert in Imidro’s non-ferrous department said at a Metal Bulletin conference in Geneva.
Geramishoar did not give a timeframe for the eight projects involved in the program, but added that bidding was underway for one plant(Persian Gulf Alumina) and financing was being arranged for two others(Salco, Kalco).
Iran could struggle to increase production so quickly given it is heavily dependent on importing the raw ore bauxite or the refined ore alumina at a high cost. Alumina costs have been pushed up by the impact of sanctions.
According to Press TV, an Iranian news site, Iran’s aluminium output hit 119,560 tonnes in the first four months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21.
At this rate, the country would produce 358,680 tonnes for 2013, just 6 percent above last year’s output level.
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