An official with the Department of Environment has called on Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex to cut production until it addresses its emission issues.
“This factory’s environmental pollution is 23 times the permitted level,” Reza Jazinizadeh, the head of Kerman Province’s DOE, told ILNA.
“We’re calling on the factory to reduce production during inversion until it sets up its acid plant.”
The official noted that Sarcheshmeh recently set up its flash furnace but is dragging its feet in establishing an integrated acid plant to rein in sulfur dioxide emission.
The factory’s emissions are becoming more evident these days due to a weather phenomenon known as temperature inversion: a condition wherein cold air underpins warm air at higher altitude, leading to the entrapment of air pollutants, which causes smog.
Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine, located in Kerman Province, is the world’s second largest and the Middle East’s largest open-pit copper mine. The mine has over 826 million tons of proven and 1.2 billion tons of estimated copper reserves with 0.7% average purity (5% of the world’s total), alongside substantial amounts of other minerals such as molybdenum, gold and rare metals.
National Iranian Copper Industries Company operates the mine alongside concentration and molybdenum plants, smelters, refineries and wire rod, slab and billet casting plants.
NICICO’s other mines across Iran include Sungun in northwestern Iran, Taft, Miduk, Chahmesi and Chahfirouzeh in central Iran, Daralou in the south and Chehelkoureh in southeast.