By Pratima Desai

LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) - National Iranian Copper Industries Company (NICICo) is close to securing international financing to invest in new mining and smelting capacity after the removal of sanctions, a senior official at the company told Reuters.

"We are reestablishing relationships with international banks and agencies. We are talking and there will be a conclusion soon," NICICo's sales and marketing manager Shahram Saeid said.

"We have had meetings with Chinese companies and they have made financing offers (but) we haven't yet come to an agreement."

Iran emerged from years of economic isolation in January when world powers lifted sanctions against the Islamic Republic in return for Tehran complying with a deal to curb its nuclear ambitions.

NICICo is looking to finance an expansion plan aimed at boosting its refined copper production to 400,000 tonnes a year by 2018 from 200,000 tonnes now.

It aims to produce 1.5 million tonnes of copper concentrate by 2018, up from 1.2 million, and 1.5 million tonnes of sulphuric acid versus just 60,000 tonnes a year currently.

The company sells about half of its output domestically.

"We sell copper cathode to Europe, Turkey, the UAE, Oman and China," Saeid said.

"Our copper concentrate exports mostly go to China, where they do their own refining ...We are looking at India as a potential market for our copper."

China consumes nearly half of the world's copper and in recent years has invested heavily in smelting capacity, despite tumbling prices, to reduce its imports of refined metal.

NICICo started life in 1897 and listed on the Tehran stock exchange in 2006. It is now one of the biggest mining companies in the Middle East, with more than three percent of the world's copper reserves.

Iran has 7,000 mines, of which about 70 percent are operational, and mining employs more than 620,000 people.

(Reporting by Pratima Desai; editing by Jason Neely) ((; +44 207 542 5113;))