“The plant’s proven reserves will increase from seven million tonnes to 38 million tonnes”
CEO of Iran Alumina:

“The plant’s proven reserves will increase from seven million tonnes to 38 million tonnes”

Given the urgent need for alumina as raw material in the country as well as producers’ need for a sustainable source, proper investment has been made for the production of alumina from bauxite mines in North Khorasan since 1371. The company was implemented with a capacity of 280 thousand tonnes annually and fully launched in 1382. The company is the first producer of three strategic products in the Middle East, namely aluminum hydroxide, metal-grade alumina, and alpha alumina. But it is facing problems such as the low grade of bauxite and the closure of some mines due to environmental issues. FelezatOnline has interviewed Tooraj Zare the CEO of Iran Alumina to discuss production and its challenges.

What are your goals and plans for the production of alumina this year?

Jajarm Alumina is a fully integrated plant from bauxite mining to the production of alumina and aluminum. With the launch of the aluminum plant this year, we produced 3 thousand tonnes of the metal.

Compared to other aluminum producers such as Iralco, Al-Mahdi, and Hormozal, the company has fewer problems to deal with because it produces the alumina it needs.

What measures have you taken regarding mining exploration expansion?

In terms of producing bauxite, alumina, and aluminum, the company is in a sustainable situation and is trying to implement development projects in all three areas.

Regarding mining, discovering new mines is a priority; we have organized long-term plans for it. Considering geological issues, accomplishments, and results so far in the sector, it can be concluded that domestic bauxite reserves are small; compared with other countries, bauxite exploration has been inadequate in Iran. Over the past five years, bauxite exploration has been the top priority of the company. We have been able to improve the drilling index. Over the past 30 years, only 100 thousand meters of drilling had been done, but the company set a new record by drilling 50 thousand meters.

Bauxite reserves also increased from 7 to 38 million tonnes. If we pay enough attention to infrastructures, capacities, and exploration, we will be able to have great achievements in the future.

What measures have you taken to increase utilization?

Caustic soda accounts for 30% of our costs. Thanks to the cost management strategies by our engineers, we have been able to cut caustic soda consumption by four thousand tonnes.

Moreover, we have reduced the amount of red mud tailings leaving the plant by one thousand tonnes per year.

A total capital of 2.6 billion tomans was spent on the project, which yielded 10 million tomans in profits this year.

We have other development plans as well, which will soon be implemented, including the production of fine hydrates, a highly valuable project for the company. These products are currently imported and mainly used as flame retardants in cable industries.

Right now, we are producing fine hydrates in labs at a pilot stage; with test results turning out good, we are eyeing industrial production.

Fine hydrates are four euros per kilogram, while alumina is 0.4 per kg; this means that we will be create to increase our added value by a factor of 10.

What are your plans for the production of aluminum ingots?

The production project has been launched and we are looking to achieve full capacity utilization.

To what extent can free pricing help producers like Iran Alumina?

Iran Alumina is a state-owned company and has to follow the regulations by the government and the ministry, but if prices were competitive, there would be a balance between supply and demand. Due to some problems in the domestic industry, the government has had to implement regulations that have practically stopped the free pricing of aluminum in the country. Market correction is the right thing to do in an emergency, but if things are stable, the aluminum industry will have better foundations for development when there is competition in the market. That is why producers prefer a free competitive market.

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