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Major copper smelter opened in Iran’s Azerbaijan

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 launches a major copper smelter for cathode production project in its Azerbaijan region.

Iran has opened a new copper cathode production plant in its northwestern Azerbaijan region where the country’s second largest copper reserves are located.

A Thursday report by the IRIB News said the new copper cathode plant, located in Varzaqan region in East Azerbaijan province, will be able to produce 3,000 metric tons (mt) of copper cathode per year.

The plant uses heap leaching method to process 14 million mt of copper ore per year, said the report.

The plant has created 175 permanent jobs and another 525 jobs on the wider industrial sector. The government has spent 15 trillion rials ($30 million) to open the project.

Iranian president Ebrahim Raeisi, who was on a provincial trip to East Azerbaijan, used a video conference link to open the project.

Raeisi had promised in a previous trip to East Azerbaijan that he would make the preparations for the launch of an independent company in the region to control the Sungun copper mine which is the largest open-cast copper mine in Iran.

Sungun had been controlled by National Iranian Copper Industries Co. (NICICO) a company that is mostly focused on vast copper mines and smelters in Iran’s southeastern province of Kerman.

Raeisi said in a gathering of people in the East Azerbaijan’s provincial capital of Tabriz on Thursday that an independent company had been set up to control the copper industry in the region.

He said the company will spend its entire revenue in projects in East Azerbaijan and will operate independent of the NICICO.

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