India mulls key investment to set iron ore plants in Iran

Sarcheshmeh copper complex, operated by the National Iranian Copper Industries. (Image courtesy of NICICO)

State-owned Indian firm KIOCL may invest an initial $59 million to build an iron ore pellet complex in Iran, with the objective of offering cheaper supplies of the processed material to Iranian steel mills.

The company is also negotiating the sale of more than 2 million tonnes of seaborne to the Gulf country now free from trade sanctions, Reuters reports.

Iran is said to have more than $10 billion of investment pledges under its belt.

KIOCL is not the only Indian firm trying to secure deals with Iran. Aluminum maker NALCO is also considering setting up a $2 billion smelter complex in the Middle Eastern country.

Companies from the oil sector to car making are jostling to take advantage of the opening of the country of nearly 80 million people. Most sanctions were dropped late last month after Tehran agreed with world powers on a plan to limit its nuclear capabilities.

RELATED: Iran goes beyond oil — to sign $5.4bn in mining deals with Italy, France

Iran’s Deputy Mine, Industry and Trade Minister Mehdi Karbasian recently claimed that, in the mining sector alone, his country has now more than $10 billion of investment pledges by the Europeans and Chinese under its belt.

Some deals are ready to be inked, but others are still in negotiation as a few sanctions not related to the nuclear program remain in place, particularly by the U.S., on the trade of goods that could be used for military or intelligence purposes.

According to Karbasian, Iran stands to make an estimated $700 billion off its vast deposits of minerals such as copper, iron ore, zinc, lead and heavy rare earth elements.

Currently, the nation has more than 3,000 active mines, mostly privately owned.