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May 2017, No. 83


IMIDRO Exclusive

In post-sanctions era

An Attractive Station for Foreign Investors


Some 140 companies from 29 world countries attended the two-day Iranian Iron and Steel Conference which was sponsored by IMIDRO.


The mining sector under the sanctions like other economic sectors and due to being connected to the world market was faced with numerous problems such as reduced rate of investment, lack of import of modern machinery and equipment and ultimately banking sanctions for the sale of products and purchase of equipment. Naturally with the lifting of the sanctions it is hoped that through appropriate interaction with the world we will be able to leave these problems behind gradually. Now with the gradual lifting of the sanctions, the questions raised in many professional circles are: The economic future of the mine and mining industry sector; the decisions and policies which should be adopted in order to get out of the present conditions.

Basically lifting of the sanctions would take a specific time process in order to have its effect on different mining industries. Based on the similar experience of Myanmar and South Africa, it is unlikely that after the elimination of restrictions imposed by the sanctions the country can make rapid growth. Of course it should be noted that major changes after the removal of the sanctions and the process of reconstruction and economic recovery, can significantly affect the political, economic, and social background and basis of the countries. In the case of Iran, given that the sanctions were imposed gradually and within a period of 10 years, no major changes occurred in the countryís economic financial system so that a new situation would cause problems; yet it should not be forgotten that policies which were adopted for confrontation with the short-term impacts of the sanctions will undoubtedly produce plenty of negative long-term results.

However, today we have collected a lot of experiences in our backpacks and at the same time have a promising and bright future ahead and do not want to look back at the past.

The mine and mining industry sector follows its own specific complications. Supply and demand in this market depends on many factors. Chinaís stock exchange is considered to be one of the largest incentives for the mine and mining industry sector. Meanwhile, regional and domestic developments have outstanding effect on the prices. However, we monitor the four corners of the mine and mining industry market in order to make the best decisions for the next 10 years ahead. In these decision makings we will pay special attention to foreign companies.

As it is obvious, Iranís mine and mining industry sector has been one of the attractive stations for foreign investors. Since the 14 July agreement in Vienna, Austria, up to date (19 September 2015), some 11 high-ranking delegations from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Poland, Japan, Turkey and Afghanistan have visited Iran. Also, officials from Britain, South Korea, China and other powerful countries have visited our country and held discussions with Iranian partners. In 80% of the above cases, expert meetings were held for bilateral development of the mine and mining industry sector and IMIDRO (Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization), in addition to holding negotiations for the development of the country, has also supported presence of the domestic private sector beside foreign investors.

In continuation we decided to hold a specialized conference in Iran with the focus on steel continuum. This event took place with the participation of the Metal Bulletin in order to bring us a step closer to international markets.

The international Metal Bulletin institute started its activities 102 years ago in ferrous and non-ferrous metals and markets by publishing a magazine under the same name and later developed its activities by holding international conferences. The institute is now holding more than 60 conferences throughout the world annually. Metal Bulletin has held conferences with topics related to Iran outside the country, including in the Persian Gulf countries. Following the July nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 and after follow-ups by the Iranian authorities, including IMIDRO, it was decided to hold the 2015 conference on the beautiful island of Kish.

This was the first international mine and mining industry gathering in Iran which was hosted on Kish Island. Some 400 guests from inside the country and around the world attended the event so that the big presence of major foreign companies surprised both the guests and the organizers.

Statistics released by Kish Conference Center show that 55% of the participants were mine and mining industry giants with some visiting Iran for the first time. Meanwhile, the European companies and experts with a share of 20% allocated the largest number to themselves followed by East Asia and Australia with15%, the Middle East with 15% and North America with 5%. The remaining 45% were Iranian experts and directors.

Also companies from Australia, Japan, Germany, Finland, Britain, Oman, Italy, Russia, India, Turkey, China, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, etc. were present some of whom had face-to-face meetings with myself and other officials of IMIDRO and more importantly a number of sessions were held for further acquisition of foreign and Iranian companies with each other.

Some 140 companies from 29 world countries attended the two-day Iranian Iron and Steel Conference which was sponsored by IMIDRO. According to the officials of the Metal Bulletin, the event was beyond expectations. Creditable companies such as Essar, Kobe Steel, MCC, MME, Nippon Steel, Mitsubishi and Auto Tech as well as major Iranian companies in mine and mining industry sector such as Sangan, Khuzestan Steel, Mobarakeh Steel, Isfahan Steel Mill, Ianís National Steel Company, Oxin Steel and some other companies active in the downstream industries were also present. This, together with scores of specialized sessions for holding face-to-face talks is indicative of the importance of the position of Iranís mine and mining industry sector for the world.

In this conference, domestic and international directors and experts examined Iran and attraction of investment in iron and steel fields in the post-sanctions era. Simultaneously with the conference, an international exhibition was held with an aim of presenting the latest software and hardware achievements in the iron and steel sector to the audience.

Main speaker of the opening session was Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Dr. Ali Tayyebnia. After the minister I delivered my speech as the Deputy Industry, Mining and Trade Minister and Chairman of the IMIDRO Board in which the situation of the mine and mining industry and investment opportunities in the sector were reported a copy of which is available on the official website of IMIDRO at www.imidro.gov.ir.

In addition to welcoming the presence of foreign countries in Iran, we also visited a number of countries with an aim of restoring our lost share in the world markets. In the conference in Vienna, Austria, Iranís mine and mining industry sector had a satisfactory presence which was welcomed and useful sessions were held. Recently we also visited the Republic of Azerbaijan upon an invitation extended by the Azeri officials.

During the trip which was held in pursuant of the joint commissions discussed cooperation of the two countries in the field of mines.

In this visit, two meetings were held one with the Azeri Minister of Economy and Industry Shahin Mustafayev who is also the Chairman of the Joint Commission and the other with Kamaladdin Heydarov, Minister of Emergency Situations on the expansion of economic cooperation in the field of mine and mining industry.

In the meetings using technical and scientific capacities of Iran in the advancement of mine and mining industry of the Republic of Azerbaijan, steel in particular, was among topics discussed. It was decided that the Azeri minister of industry pay a visit to Iran to further discuss expansion of cooperation.

Meanwhile, proposals were made for the presence of investors from the Republic of Azerbaijan in Iran for making investment in the field of exploration and mine safety. A delegation from Baku is to visit Iran in this regard. Bilateral cooperation in free zones such as Aras and Chabahar in the field of steel was among other topics discussed in the meetings. An Azeri delegation will visit Iran in a near future to hold more discussions in this regard. Also, in the Republic of Azerbaijanís Chamber of Commerce, a meeting was held with the officials of Baku Steel on bilateral cooperation in the field of mining and steel. In a meeting with Azeri minister for emergency situations, views were exchanged on the expansion of economic cooperation in the field of mining. In this meeting, the Azeri minister referred to the determination of the presidents of the two countries for the development of relations and announced his readiness to pay a visit to Iran in a near future. Heydarov pointed to the positive developments in Iran especially the nuclear agreement and lifting of the sanctions and termed the economic future of the two countries in the field of mining as highly promising.

As for the Guinea bauxite which is one of the large mines of IMIDRO negotiations are underway and we have a number of different scenarios for it. Soon we will take measures for attracting foreign participation or investors. The Middle East has been turned into an aluminum production hub and products of this mine have proper market.  

Transparent Regulations, Requirement of Investor Companies: Organizations and officials that are responsible for the attraction of foreign investors in the country should note that providing a package of investment rules and regulations and the related tips, is among the most important issues required by foreign companies.

So far, since the past two years over 50 top companies of the world have requested presence in Iran and investment in different mine and mining industry sectors but there is no transparent picture available regarding internal rules and regulations for the investment. Therefore, with regard to the high potentials of the previous development plans and also strengthening of those potentials in the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan of the Islamic Republic of Iran, within the shortest possible time, presence of foreign capitals, especially capitals of the Iranians residing abroad should be facilitated in Iran.

The honorable minister of industry, mining and trade has issued appropriate instructions for the removal of bureaucratic rules and regulations on the way of domestic and foreign investment. IMIDRO is taking serious steps in cooperation with the industry ministry to improve the rules and regulations for the mine and mining industry sector. In conclusion, once again I would like to invite all the investors, owners of technology and multi-national companies to meet in Tehran and play a role in our market.

 

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  May 2017
No. 83