News ID: 261388
Published: 0401 GMT November 10, 2019

Iran opening first phase of $1b aluminum smelter in south

Iran opening first phase of $1b aluminum smelter in south

The first phase of the largest aluminum smelter, known as SALCO, is to open in southern Iran in the coming weeks as authorities seek to make up for losses in the sector over the past decades in domestic production of the metal.

IRNA said in a Sunday report that SALCO, located in the city of Lamerd at the southern tip of Fars Province near the Persian Gulf, will churn out 300,000 tons of aluminum in its first phase of production.

The smelter, one of the largest in the Middle East, will create 1,200 jobs and is planned to produce one million tons annually when it reaches full capacity, said the report.

Five Iranian banks have provided finances of more than $1 billion for the first phase of the project, to which, the China Non-ferrous Metal Industry's Foreign Engineering and Construction Co. (NFC) has also been contributing.

The project has been funded by the IMIDRO, Iran’s largest holding in mining and metals sector, and Ghadir Investment Company, where Iran’s Social Security Organization and pension funds related to the armed forces are the main shareholders.

Iran has lagged behind in the production of aluminum compared to other metals. However, vast sources of energy can help the country compensate for the losses suffered over the years as fuel account for more than 25 percent of the cost of aluminum production.

Iran seeks to increase annual output of aluminum to more than 800,000 tons by March 2022, while trying to bring in $11 billion in investment to raise the figure to 1.5 million tons by 2025.

Production at three major smelters in Iran, namely the Iranian Aluminum Company (IRALCO), the Hormozal Aluminum and Almahdi Co. totaled 103,593 tons between late March and late August 2019.

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