CEO of Bafgh Zinc Smelting Co.:With the development of mines, Iran's share in zinc production will increase

CEO of Bafgh Zinc Smelting Co.,Mohammad Heidarzadeh, is of the view that Iran is currently in a good position to increase the production of zinc, but mines are not sufficiently equipped to meet the current demand. If more mines are allocated to zinc ingot producing plants, Iran will significantly contribute to the production of this sought-after metal.



According to him, while Iran has a potential production capacity of 480,000t of zinc ingot,the existing plants are operating at an average capacity of 30 percent due to the shortage of raw materials. However, resolving the bottleneck in the mining sector and other areas can lead to an increase in the final production by one million to 1.5mt.
"Iran has close to 250 active, semi-active and stagnant zinc mines with which they can cover vacant capacities," he said.
In addition to creating mobility in the upstream sector, this will reduce the cost of producing plants.
Bafgh Zinc Smelting Co. has been considered as the largest producer of zinc ingots by a sulfur method in that last 17 years of its
operation in Iran. The plant was designed to produce 30,000t of ingots. Recently, with a change in the use of the company’s wastewater plant and equipping it with new machinery, the oxidized line, with an annual production capacity of 5,000t, was launched separately.Therefore, the company is currently able to use the two methods to produce ingots.
"Previously when we were out of the sulfur feed, we had to shut down the line, but since March 2017, with an innovative design
and changing the piping and some of the equipment, the unit has turned into oxidative leaching. Currently, 30% of the ingots are
produced by using oxidized feed and 70% by sulfur feed," Heydarzadeh noted.
According to him, oxidized soils have been stored over the years, and the value of money was reduced over the period.
"After the possibility of recycling some of the waste cake filters in this unit, the total production efficiency has grown by about
8%. On the other hand, mines in Yazd province extracting zinc oxidized soil were also mobilized by selling from 7 to 8 thousand tons of their product to us," he emphasized.
The plan presented by Bafgh Zinc Smelting Co. won the Best Performance Improvement and Productivity Promotion Award at the Iranian Chamber of Commerce.
"The Anguran mine in Zanjan province, as the leading supplier of raw materials to the zinc industry in Iran, has been an open-pit
mine providing oxidized soil. Recently, we bought the sulfur soil, which is the product of underground extraction, and started the
production," he stated.
Considering focus strategy as the primary approach of the company, CEO of Bafgh Zinc Smelting Co. said "We are simultaneously pursuing vertical strategy upward and aredealing with the mining sector. Anjire mine,which is located 90 kilometers from the plant, will provide part of the feed. There are also other mines to consider."
He asserted that for the time being, the company is not equipped with the flotation ring, but the order is given and the machinery
will be launch by March 2018 (end of the Iranian calendar year).

Pyrometallurgy method
So far, merely Hydrometallurgy method has been used in the country to produce zinc ingots. However, Bafgh Zinc Smelting Co. is planning to adopt Pyrometallurgy method.
This will make the extraction of elements such as nickel, silver, indium, and germanium possible from the cakes that were previously considered waste.
He maintains that by applying the new method, the technology chain of the company will be completed.
Heydarzadeh emphasized that in the post-JCPOA era, in addition to supplying components and flowing external cooperation,the Company is seeking to increase the capacity and production of Zinc ingots, so that a higher share of production can be gained. "In spite of the fact that Iran is rich with 16.8% of the world’s Zinc resources, we only own 1-1.5% of the global production because the mines are not entirely equipped. It equals to an annual production of about 150,000t,"he explained.
He holds that it is possible to produce one million to 1.5mt of zinc ingots in Iran by activating mines and relying on the proper marketing of zinc.
He noted that for the time being a part of the required feed is supplied by Turkey and another part by some African countries.
However, importing raw materials, in the long run, is not accepted.
According to him, 80-85% of the Bafgh Zinc Smelting Company's products are now exported to foreign countries.One of the measures undertaken during the one-year presence of Heidarzadeh as the CEO of the company is cooperation with universities. So, the production sector, the environment sector, energy consumption sector, and even the type of staff food are identified based on the study paper and R&D. There are scientific methods based on "Management in Operations Research" for most of the activities and decisions.
“After the possibility of recycling some of the waste cake filters in this unit, the total production efficiency has grown by about 8%.”