Iran to Become Net Exporter of Aluminum From 2019

Iran will become a net exporter of aluminum from 2019 and plans to increase its domestic production of the metal over the coming years, an official of the Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation Organization told delegates at the Arabal conference in Oman.
“In the short term, Iran will remain a net importer of metal,” Amir Sabbagh added, noting that domestic production is around 340,000 tons per year.
“From a demand perspective, this will increase with the price of oil–on which the Iranian economy is heavily dependent–with Brent crude having increased 133% from the beginning of 2016 to its current level of around $63.”
The IMIDRO official said the government has started many construction projects and with the price of oil going up, there is more money for investment, which is positive for aluminum consumption in Iran, Metal Bulletin reported.
“Despite this, by January 2019, the country will add 350,000 tons of new production capacity, so total production capacity will be closer to 800,000 tons, making Iran a net exporter of the metal,” Sabbagh said.
This could create a bottleneck for the country. The impact is most likely to be felt in traditional countries of export for Iran, such as Turkey, although duty-unpaid units have found it difficult in recent years to compete with the duty-free units arriving in Turkey from Malaysia.
Metal Bulletin last assessed premiums in Turkey at $110-140 per ton on a CIF duty unpaid basis, although much of Turkey prefers to variable price using the Metal Bulletin Rotterdam duty-unpaid benchmark with a fixed upcharge.
South Aluminum Company or Salco is building a 300,000-ton/year unit in Asaluyeh, a natural gas hub in Bushehr Province, which is expected to start production in late 2018. The project is financed by China’s NFC, or China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Company.
Iran has a current aluminum nameplate capacity of 457,000 tons/year, of which about 437,000 tons/year are operational.
The country does not have sufficient alumina production to meet the new plant’s demands, so again the Chinese are further involved in talks to build a new 2-million-ton per annum alumina refinery in Asaluyeh.
The refinery is to be fed by bauxite imported from Iran’s long-term supplier, Alumina Company of Guinea in Conakry, Guinea. Iran has an agreement to import 4 million tons/year of bauxite from Guinea until 2040.
“Going forward, Iran will remain a net exporter, eventually…

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