A Last Copper Frontier Opens Up

I wrote in my projects letter Prime Meridians last month about one of the world’s last copper frontiers.

Iran.

We don’t think much about Iran as a mining destination. But in fact the nation holds some significant potential prizes–based on previous discoveries here.

And news this week suggests that investors may now be moving to capitalize. Particularly one of the most aggressive commodity-buying nations on the planet.

That’s China. Who this week held talks with Iranian officials regarding development in the recovering rogue nation’s minerals sector.

Local press reports that the “Iran-China Stone Association” met in Tehran with the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Trade. Discussing investment in a wide range of sectors including transport, infrastructure and energy. And also touching on the mining business.

According to reports, the government is preparing to move aggressively on that front. With the press noting that the Ministry is “resolved to activate the mining sector through offering fruitful projects to Chinese investors.”

The geologic potential here certainly justifies an early entry–especially for a risk-tolerant player like China. Iranian discoveries like Sar Cheshmeh are estimated to hold over a billion tonnes of copper ore. With world-leading grade, of around 0.7% Cu.

There simply aren’t many places on Earth with that kind of proven potential.

Even better, there’s been very little exploration in these districts. Especially of the modern variety–with Iran having been largely closed to foreign investment for the last few decades.

But that’s changing according to recent indications. Including the government’s announced willingness to revamp its petroleum laws–finally allowing foreign companies to own oil reserves here.

Similar changes may be coming for minerals. Current rules only allow foreign mining operators to take a 49% project stake, in partnership with a local entity. But if that bar gets lowered, this is a terrain that’s wide open for discoveries.

We’ll see what news comes here–regarding Chinese ventures or otherwise.

Here’s to going un-rogue,

Dave Forest

dforest@piercepoints.com / @piercepoints / Facebook

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