Iraq and Romania sign mineral extraction agreement

A bulldozer works at a factory in al-Qaim. [Faleh Kheiber/Reuters]

A bulldozer works at a factory in al-Qaim. [Faleh Kheiber/Reuters]

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The Iraqi government signed a strategic agreement with the Romanian government on Wednesday (December 7th) to establish a long term-partnership in the field of extracting and processing minerals in Iraq.

The processed minerals aim to meet the local needs of Iraq and Romania, with the remaining quantities to be exported to Europe.

The agreement calls for establishing the "United Iraqi Minerals Company", which will extricate, reprocess and export minerals. The company will start with 7 billion dinars ($6 million) in capital. Iraq will own 69 percent of the company and the Romanian government will own the rest.

"The work of the company will concentrate in six geographic locations in Iraq in the form of mineral processing plants, while the main headquarters will be in Baghdad," said Salam al-Quraishi, economic advisor for the Iraqi government.

Al-Quraishi told Mawtani that work on the project will start by mid February of 2012. It will take two years to construct the plants and start the process of mineral extraction.

Ahmad Delli al-Karbouli, the minister of industry and minerals, said the new partnership with Romania "is part of a new Iraqi state policy of opening up to Europe to benefit from its expertise on the basis of mutual exchange and benefit".

"Iraq was keen to put several conditions into the agreement with the Romanian government, the most important of which is that the Romanian side would be bound to provide the expertise and modern technology, as well as undertake the marketing side, in addition to having the construction done by the Romanian government itself or by companies guaranteed by it," al-Karbouli told Mawtani.

Among the other conditions of the agreement, according to al-Karbouli, is that 70 percent of the workforce at the factories will be experienced Iraqis who possess bachelor's degrees or higher, particularly for administrative jobs and those in the electronic and technological divisions.

Director-general of the State Company for Geological Surveys and Mining, Ali Abdulalh al-Ani, said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the agreement takes Iraq's economy in a new direction.

"The agreement represents a phase in which Iraq transforms from relying exclusively on oil to diversifying its sources of income to minerals, of which Iraq has plenty."

Al-Ani said the government is working on agreements with different countries to start projects aimed at activating agriculture, trade, industry and tourism, "which would create an economically strong Iraq within five years from now".

"The security situation in Iraq can be described as good and suitable for establishing the united Iraqi-Romanian company, and it is also suitable for the foreign companies to come to Iraq for investment," he said.

Ahmad al-Alwani, chairman of the Iraqi parliament's economic committee, told Mawtani that parliament approved the agreement "because it would create an economic leap in Iraq, allowing it to enter with strength into the market for the export of minerals to Europe".

"The agreement will also provide numerous work opportunities for Iraqi manpower, and the partnership with Europeans will open many doors before Iraqis to start other projects."

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  • READER COMMENTS

    موسى عصام

    2012-1-2

    We are one of the good countries and God has given us a lot of natural resources. We should not depend on oil only as a sole source for investment. All the other wealth should be exploited. In Iraq, we have a great and varied mineral wealth, including what has been discovered and what is as yet undiscovered. Therefore, I call for doing a survey of the land in Iraq as well as discovering the mineral wealth and then opening it up to investment. There are governorates which have great mineral wealth, like Kirkuk or Anbar; those governorates are known for minerals which are not extracted yet. Therefore, I think that if the government opens the door of investment in the field of extracting minerals, there are a lot of companies which will contribute to investment without a doubt, and we will not have to depend on oil only. Moreover, conferences and meetings should be held so as to study and assess this matter and to come up with plans and good ideas as well as the proper planning to take advantage of this investment in reality, if it has been issued.

  • قاسم الطائي

    2011-12-27

    I call for making investments in the field of mining in Iraq. This will positively affect Iraq and Iraqis, because these projects will accommodate the labor force and will reduce unemployment. Thus, it is important to take advantage of the international expertise in the field of mining. This is in order to prepare Iraqi competencies that can manage these projects of mining. This will have a positive impact on our country, which is endowed with many resources. Thus, I’m in favor of taking an interest in mining through making investments that can improve this field. It is also important to cooperate with the friendly countries, in order to take advantage of these resources and their financial returns.

  • قاسم الطائي

    2011-12-27

    I call for making investments in the field of mining in Iraq. This will positively affect Iraq and Iraqis, because these projects will accommodate the labor force and will reduce unemployment. Thus, it is important to take advantage of the international expertise in the field of mining. This is in order to prepare Iraqi competencies that can manage these projects of mining. This will have a positive impact on our country, which is endowed with many resources. Thus, I’m in favor of taking interest in mining through making investments that can improve this field. It is also important to cooperate with the friendly countries, in order to take advantage of these resources and their financial returns.

  • كرار علي

    2011-12-27

    Iraq is among the countries that have many metal resources that are still underground. This can make Iraq among the most important countries in the world through exporting the different kinds of metals. This will provide hard currency for the country’s economy, which will be improved. Besides, Iraq is rich in oil. This is in addition to the other metals, such as sulfur and phosphate. Thus, I ask our esteemed government to follow this direction in order to achieve the country’s well-being, God willing. This is also in order to improve the country’s economy, through making more investments and signing contracts with international companies that have sufficient expertise in this field. Thus, Iraq must not rely on just one resource, which is oil. In fact, it must rely on more economic resources, in order to be among the strongest economies in the world. Thus, it must extract metals and export them to the international markets. It is also important to use these metals in order to meet the domestic requirements. This is in order to avoid importing these metals. Besides, this will provide money for the state treasury. And we can take advantage of these amounts of money that can be used in establishing other projects.

  • واجد شريف

    2011-12-27

    The esteemed government has worked hard in order to establish more reconstruction and service projects. Thus, it has made more investments and it has achieved more cooperation with different countries of the world, such as the European countries. In fact, this is among the positive things that will improve our country, in order for it to become among the developed countries. This will also reduce the number of the unemployed. Today, I’m happy with the achievements of the esteemed government. And I call for getting a job opportunity on one of these projects that have been launched by the government and by the Iraqi Ministries in order to reconstruct Iraq. Thus, we hope that these projects will accommodate the largest possible number of the unemployed youth, who must contribute to the country’s construction. Besides, it is important to take advantage of these projects in order to provide services for our country and our people. It is also important to put an end to unemployment through recruiting the youth.

  • غسان علي

    2011-12-20

    This corrupt government is useless; they are a group of thieves, criminals and perverts who claim to be patriotic. They do not know how to converse or address the people, because they are uneducated and have no certificates. They are ignorant, stupid, and corrupt thieves of Iraq’s fortunes. The proof is the contract with the companies selling electric generators to the Iraqis, but which in the end turned out to be just a game to steal the money of the people. Of course nothing was done; the theft was not investigated and the criminals were not put on trial or punished . They were not held accountable or subjected to a penalty by the Iraqi courts. This is an unfortunate matter, of course. This is why al-Maliki and his corrupt government have to leave Iraq. They should return to Iran, because Iraq will be better off without them.