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Demand for Iran’s copper outpaces supply for first time: NICICO

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s national copper company says demand for Iranian metal has outpaced supply for first time.

The CEO of the National Iranian Copper Industry Company (NICICO) has said that for a first time in the country’s history the sector is facing a higher demand than current supply and output levels despite a series of American sanctions that seek to stifle Iran’s lucrative trade of metals.

“For a first time in the history of the country’s copper industry the sales of NICICO have outpaced the amount of output,” said Ardeshir Sa’admohammadi on Sunday.

The comments come amid an unprecedented boom in Iran’s metals and mining sector as the country seeks to diversify the economy away from oil.

Unlike oil sales which have stumbled due to the US sanctions, Iran’s trade of metals has been spared of a series of similar bans enacted since May this year. That has been largely due to the fact that the United States has been unable to spot the original source of the cargoes exported from Iran via third countries.

Sa’admohammadi said another reason for Iran’s booming copper exports is a surging demand in the international markets as the precious metal in being increasingly used in industries that are gearing toward electrification.

Reports earlier this year suggested Iran was making huge investments for development of the copper industries located northwest of the country where the NICIC Oseeks easier access to the markets in Turkey and in Europe.

However, a bulk of the copper exports from Iran is still supplied through a traditional hub of mines and smelters located in Kerman, in southeast of the country.

The NICIC chief said on Sunday that more than 310 million euros had been spend on a massive copper production site that will come on line within the next few months. He said the project, located in an area some 80 kilometers to the west of Kerman, includes an smelter, an oxygen facility, an acid production unit and a warehouse.

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