“Production of copper ingots is no longer as prosperous as it used to be”
CEO of Oxidizing Iranian Co.:

“Production of copper ingots is no longer as prosperous as it used to be”

“The export of copper ingots was banned, NICICO stopped buying them, and demand shrank; as a result, the production of copper ingots has lost its charm and the market is getting worse by the day,” said Yadollah Moradi, CEO of Oxidizing Iranian Co.

“Our production capacity includes 20 thousand tonnes of 20*30 cm copper ingots, 8 thousand tonnes of zinc oxide, 400 kg of gold ingots, and 2 thousand kg of silver ingots. As the export of copper ingots has been banned and its price in the domestic market has declined, we are having serious challenges to continue its production. On the bright side, the relevant organizations are working with us to help keep our business running. Yet due to the market of raw materials and copper ingots, our output is not significant.

“We use rotary furnaces for copper scrap. To produce gold and silver, we use induction furnaces. Zinc oxide is collected by bag filters at the outlet of furnaces. We can use any type of raw materials containing copper and zinc.”

Explaining that the company mainly uses brass slag as raw materials, Moradi said: “We buy brass slag from companies such as producers of brass sections or casting plants. There are a lot of such companies. Brass slag can contain 50% copper and 40% zinc, or vice versa; the price is determined after analysis. Slag is cast into ingots after being melted in furnaces. The zinc content is oxidized in the heat and collected in bag filters.

“Our consumption of raw materials depends on a number of factors: liquidity, affordability, rivals’ activities, and trade relations; anyone with better activity in the market can get a larger share of raw materials.”

He added, “To produce gold and silver, we buy anode slime from NICICO, telecom scrap, dirt containing gold, and used catalysts in the petroleum industry. Anode slime is supplied to the IME by NICICO and if we’re lucky in the competition, we can buy.”

Moradi talked about the applications of zinc oxide: “It has a wide range of applications; it is used in glazing, tires, paints, and hygienic products.”

He compared his company with other producers in the industry: “There are about 70 producers of copper ingots in Zanjan province; Oxidizing Iranian Co. has the largest capacity among them. Zanjan used to lead the production of copper ingots, but since NICICO started to outsource its raw materials to factories in Kerman, some companies moved there.”

Regarding obstacles to the production of secondary copper ingots, Moradi said, “Export of copper ingots has been banned. Moreover, we have to sell our products in the domestic market through intermediaries in an unfair cycle. They buy our ingots, convert it to legally exportable products, and sell it to Turkey, where it is re-melted and converted into ingots.

“When NICICO stopped buying ingots, production went into decline. Only the small number of companies that are outsourcing for NICICO are operating; the other companies have small production due to weak demand. Even those that do buy copper ingots pay very low prices; the production of copper ingots is practically not economical.

He went on to talk about the production technology used by the company: “We imported the technology for the production of copper ingots from Turkey and developed it. We are now more advanced and developed technically. We have had significant changes in production since last year. In terms of environmental requirements to cut emissions, we have highly efficient equipment and bag filters that reduce emissions to the permitted level. We were a ‘Green Company’ in Zanjan in the 18th International Energy and Environment Fair.

“Given the problems with raw materials for the production of copper ingots as well as the bad market for them, we decided to start the production of zinc ingots from zinc oxide, but Zanjan’s Department of Environment does not allow that on the grounds that the industrial town is dedicated to copper only. They also say that we have to use raw materials that contain mostly copper. If this could happen, we would employ 150 people, whereas we have only 45 workers currently. With these restrictions, we can’t expand and develop our business. We are legally authorized to expand our products and we have received all the required permits and certificates. The Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade and the Ministry of Health and Medical Education as well as the Provincial Government have agreed; but the Department of Environment does not approve.”

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