The three bidders are: South Africa’s Bateman, with the local Kayson Group; Autocompo, a subsidiary of Germany’s Lurgi, with Europe’s ABBand Kahan Robaand Boland Paaya, both local; and the local Iritec, with Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas. The consultant is the local Barsoo Engineering.

The project involves the construction of a new plant with capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year (t/y), using direct leach technology through either conventional purification or solvent extraction, electrowinning, melting and casing. The new plant will use ore taken from the nearby Angooran mine, which is also located in Zanjan province, northwest of Tehran.

The project will be financed 85 per cent by the client and 15 per cent by the contractor, after IZPC decided to abandon plans to carry out the work on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.

The Zanjan zinc project has been tendered a number of times before, most recently in 1999. Now contractors say they are taking the project far more seriously and IZPC says it is intent on making an award as soon as possible. The plant is due to come on stream in 2006.