“This mining complex will reach [its full] annual production capacity of 800,000 tons each for zinc and lead concentrate respectively in four years and three stages,” Amin Safari was also quoted as saying by Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization.
According to Safari, Mehdiabad holds about 5% of the world’s zinc reserves with an estimated deposit of 716 million tons.
Located in Yazd Province, it is a world-class oxide, sulfide and mixed oxide-sulfide zinc, lead and silver deposit. The mine is of utmost importance to the Iranian lead and zinc industry, as it is the country’s only major source of the minerals, with Angouran Mine in Zanjan Province nearing depletion.
The completion of production phases will also enable the mine to produce 2.4% of the world’s total zinc output every year.
Completing the mine’s expansion program requires a total of $1 billion of investment, only 1.5 trillion rials ($36.58 million) of which have been realized so far.
Back in March, a consortium of Iranian private companies signed a deal worth $1 billion with IMIDRO, the state-owned mining holding in charge of the mine, to develop Mehdiabad and operate it for the next 25 years.
According to IMIDRO Chairman Mehdi Karbasian, the consortium was made up of Iran Lead and Zinc Industries and Mining Association and six private companies led by Mobin Mining and Construction Company.
Operations at the mine started several years ago after a joint venture was formed between the Australian company Union Capital Limited and the Iranian mining and engineering company ITOK.
But after the two investors ran into disagreements with the government over the details of the deal, operations in Mehdiabad came to a halt.
“This project was stagnant for over two decades … Its lack of progress made us to look for new investors,” IMIDRO public relations quoted Karbasian as saying.
Source: Financial Tribune