EghtesadOnline: More than $341 million worth of decorative stones were exported from Iran during the last fiscal year (March 2017-18), registering an increase of 24.45% compared to the year before.
The above data were cited by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, IRNA reported.
Iran is among the top six producers of ornamental stones in the world and among the top 20 exporters.
The Middle Eastern country is home to over 3,300 mines, the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade said. There are 1,700 to 1,900 decorative stone mines in the country, out of which 1,200 are actively operating, Financial Tribune reported.
China was the main customer of Iranian decorative stones last year, accounting for 49.85% of Iran’s exports ($170 million).
Iraq with $73 million, Turkey with $17 million and India and Turkmenistan each with $11 million followed China.
Iran had a 0.23% share ($10 million) in the $17.1 billion global trade of decorative stones in 2017.
There are 6,000-6,500 stone cutting units in the country, close to 50% of which are located in the capital.
According to Young Journalists Club, Iranian mines have 47 billion tons of reserves, around 4 billion of which constitute decorative stones.
Stone consumption in the country stands at 7.5 million tons per year, while decorative stone extraction exceeds 25 million tons, indicating great capacity for exports.
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Today, Iranian stone industry is faced with the pressing need to replace its old machinery.
On the sidelines of the 10th Iran Stone Exhibition, also known as "IRSE 2018", the chairman of Industries, Mining and Trade Organization of Markazi Province emphasized that increasing the quality of stone processing units depends on using up-to-date technology and renovating active industrial units.
“In many decorative stone processing units in the country, we witness a huge amount of waste that has caused the end price of processing to go up and our power to compete in global markets has diminished as a result,” Mohammad Reza Hajipour was also quoted as saying by YJC.
IRSE 2018 opened on July 19 at Tehran International Permanent Fairground. Running through July 22, the international event was organized by Iran Stone Association, ILNA reported.
More than 160 domestic firms and 55 companies from Germany, Italy, China, Turkeyand Spain took part in the expo.
Mohammad Reza Bahraman, the head of Iran Mine House, also told YJC that since some mineral stones lack demand in domestic markets, they are exported in raw form before they are processed in the export destinations.