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Acid Plant Database  November 11, 2020

Owner National Iranian Copper Industries Company - NICICo

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Location Sarcheshmeh
Background -
Website www.nicico.com
Plant Plant No. 1 Plant No. 2
Coordinates 29° 58' 59" N, 55° 51' 12" E 29° 58' 57" N, 55° 51' 5" E
Type of Plant Metallurgical Metallurgical
Gas Source Copper Copper
Plant Capacity 100,000 t/a -
Status Operating Operating
Year Built 2008 -
Technology FENCO Outotec
Contractor - -
Remarks - -
Pictures NICICo-Sarcheshmeh-4.jpg (175898 bytes)  NICICo-Sarcheshmeh-5.jpg (139681 bytes)        NICICo-Sarcheshmeh-6.jpg (282469 bytes)  NICICo-Sarcheshmeh-7.jpg (277697 bytes)           

In 1972 (1351H.), Sarcheshmeh Copper Mines Joint Stock Co of Kerman was established; and, later, in 1976 (1355H.), it was renamed as National Iranian Copper Industries Co to involve all copper mines operations throughout the country. This company has numerous responsibilities to do including extraction and utilization of copper mines, production of copper concentrates and manufacturing copper products such as cathodes, slabs, billets and 8mm wire rods.

Sarcheshmeh and Miduk mines in Kerman province and Sunegoon mine in eastern Azarbaiejan province are of the most significant copper mines in the country.

Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex is located 160 km southwest of Kerman and 50 km south of Rafsanjan. The region's altitude averages about 2600 m, the highest spot of which approximates 3000 m. Sarcheshmeh ore bodies, situated in the central part of Zagros ranges, consist of folded and faulted early tertiary volcano- sedimentary rocks. Production units of Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex involve the mine itself, concentrator, smelter, refinery, foundries and leaching.

References -
News February 13, 2018 - An official with the Department of Environment has called on Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex to cut production until it addresses its emission issues.  “This factory’s environmental pollution is 23 times the permitted level,” Reza Jazinizadeh, the head of Kerman Province’s DOE, told ILNA.  “We’re calling on the factory to reduce production during inversion until it sets up its acid plant.”  The official noted that Sarcheshmeh recently set up its flash furnace but is dragging its feet in establishing an integrated acid plant to rein in sulfur dioxide emission.  The factory’s emissions are becoming more evident these days due to a weather phenomenon known as temperature inversion: a condition wherein cold air underpins warm air at higher altitude, leading to the entrapment of air pollutants, which causes smog.  Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine, located in Kerman Province, is the world’s second largest and the Middle East’s largest open-pit copper mine. The mine has over 826 million tons of proven and 1.2 billion tons of estimated copper reserves with 0.7% average purity (5% of the world’s total), alongside substantial amounts of other minerals such as molybdenum, gold and rare metals.  National Iranian Copper Industries Company operates the mine alongside concentration and molybdenum plants, smelters, refineries and wire rod, slab and billet casting plants.  NICICO’s other mines across Iran include Sungun in northwestern Iran, Taft, Miduk, Chahmesi and Chahfirouzeh in central Iran, Daralou in the south and Chehelkoureh in southeast.

February 4, 2018 -
Thirteen expansion projects of Kerman Province’s National Iranian Copper Industries Company were inaugurated late Thursday by President Hassan Rouhani and Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari.  The total value of the projects exceeded 35 trillion rials ($760.8 million), the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization announced.  NICICO is the leading copper producer in the Middle East and North Africa region, as the mines it operates hold close to 14% share of Asia’s copper deposits and about 3% of global reserves.  Iran holds about 4 billion tons of estimated copper reserves, according to Geological Survey of Iran.  The new production projects include a flash smelter with a capacity of 282,000 tons of copper anode per year alongside the purchase of casting wheels and anode furnaces with an investment of 2.4 trillion rials ($51.6 million) in addition to €182 million; Khatunabad Copper Smelter with an annual capacity of 200,000 tons of copper cathode and an investment of 640 billion rials ($13.7 million) in addition to €143 million; Sarcheshmeh copper plant’s new convertor furnaces’ gas discharge system with 1.54 trillion rials ($33 million) in addition to the investment of €19 million; Sarcheshmeh cathode washing system with 1 trillion rials ($21 million) of investment; Sarcheshmeh’s explosive material production plant with a capacity of 12,000 tons of gelatin dynamites per year with 120 billion rials ($2.5 million) of investment; and expansion of Sarcheshmeh’s sulfuric acid plant capacity to 300,000 tons per year with 580 billion rials of investment in addition to €3 million.  The new infrastructure projects comprised the second line of the 80-kilometer Sarcheshmeh-Shahr-e-Babak Road with an 800-billion-rial ($17 million) investment; the first and second phase of Sirjan’s 500-megawatt combined cycle power plant with an investment of 700 billion rials ($15 million) in addition to €285 million; Khatunabad’s new copper concentrate storage with a 60,000-ton capacity and a molybdenum dewatering, drying and drum-filling plant, with a combined investment of 790 billion rials ($17 million); increasing the capacity of quicklime storage by 1,250 tons with an investment of 110 billion rials ($2.3 million); Meymand-Shahr-e-Babak electricity substation with 50 billion rials ($1 million), in addition to an investment of €15 million; and nine electricity substations to feed flash smelters, acid sulfuric and molybdenum plants with 480 billion rials ($10 million) of investment, according to NIOC's website.  The company, however, stopped short of saying whether the projects' "inauguration" meant that they have become operational or simply that work has just begun on them. 

Giant Holding

NICICO operates the world’s second largest and the Middle East’s largest open-pit copper mine, Sarcheshmeh. The mine is home to over 826 million tons of proven and 1.2 billion tons of estimated copper reserves, alongside substantial amounts of minerals such as molybdenum, gold and rare metals.  NICICO's other mines include Sungun Copper Mine in northwestern Iran, Taft, Miduk, Chahmesi and Chahfiroozeh mines in central Iran, Daraloo Mine in the south and Chehelkoureh Mine in southeast.  Its plants in Kerman Province include Sarcheshmeh and Miduk concentration plants with 800,000 tons/year capacity, Sarcheshmeh Molybdenum plant with 7,000 tons/year, Sarcheshmeh and Miduk SX-EW plants with 13,000 tons/year capacity, Sarcheshmeh and Khatoon Abad smelter plants with 250,000 tons/year capacity, Sarcheshmeh Sulfuric Acid Plant with 100,000 tons/year capacity, Sarcheshmeh Refinery Plant with 240,000 tons/year capacity, Khatoon Abad Refinery Plant with 200,000 tons/year capacity and Sarcheshmeh wire rod, slab and billet casting plants with 180,000 tons/year capacity.

Stability in Global Prices

Capacity expansions at NICICO have come at a good time, as global copper prices are holding their own in 2018.  After a series of plunges in late 2017, copper spent most of December growing rapidly to distance itself from its $6,500 lows and jump above $7,000 in January 2018. Prices have taken a beating since the year began, dropping from a high of $7,202 to just above $6,900, but February showings have been strong and it’s now again above $7,100, London Metal Exchange reported.  NICICO’s experience with the historic lows of 2015 has made it more resilient and also adaptive.  According to the head of IMIDRO, Mehdi Karbasian, NICICO has reduced its copper concentrate finished price from 35,510 rials (76 cents) per kilogram to 24,400 (52 cents) and cathode prices from 51,980 rials ($1.1) to 39,000 rials (83 cents) in the past four years.  The cost-cutting enabled the company to survive the low prices and now with the markets improving, it is poised to increase NICICO’s competitiveness.  NICICO’s shares are currently being traded at 2,633 rials each on Tehran Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of $3.47 billion.  The company is a semi-privatized entity, as a large number of state-owned firms or other semi-privatized companies own its shares. Its largest shareholder, for instance, is the vast mining governmental holding IMIDRO with a 12% share.  Bank Mellat, Metal and Mines Development Investment Company are the two other, each owning about 5.7%.

ay 10, 2011
- Outotec has agreed with Tech Talk company of Dubai on the delivery of flash smelting technology for the expansion of National Iranian Copper Industries Company's copper smelter located in Sarcheshmeh, Iran. Outotec's scope of delivery includes the supervision of detail engineering, supply of proprietary equipment as well as installation supervision and training services. The contract value is approximately EUR 61 million.  Before getting this contract effective Outotec has ensured with the relevant export control authorities that the envisaged delivery does not collide with existing embargo regulations. Outotec has applied for and received all the necessary permits. In anticipation of possible subsequent changes in the regulatory framework, the order will be booked in Outotec's order backlog gradually according to the overall progress of the project during years 2011 - 2013.  "The Iranian copper smelters require new technology to minimize their environmental impact. Outotec® Flash Smelting technology is recognized as the world's most efficient and environmentally sustainable alternative. The technology is already in use in Iran and therefore the customer preferred it as the first choice", says Outotec CEO Pertti Korhonen.

MTPD - Metric Tonne per Day           STPD - Short Ton per Day
MTPA - Metric Tonne per Annum      STPA - Short Ton per Annum
SA - Single Absorption
DA - Double Absorption

* Coordinates can be used to locate plant on Google Earth