EghtesadOnline: Iran has about 4,000 inactive mines, the chairman of Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization said.
Khodadad Gharibpour, who is also a deputy industries minister, added that small mines in Iran hold an 85% share in the mining sector’s employment, while they have a 65% share in mining output, IRNA reported.
The Industries Ministry had earlier announced plans to revive 150 small mines to create at least 1,000 jobs in the current fiscal year (started March 21).
About 138,000 people are employed in Iran’s mines while mining industries employ over 500,000 people, according to Financial Tribune.
“IMIDRO is pursuing plans to expand its mineral explorations to cover 300,000 square kilometers by the end of the second term of President Hassan Rouhani [August 2021],” Gharibpour was quoted as saying earlier this week.
According to the official, the Iranian state-owned organization carried out exploration over 270,000 square kilometers during the first presidential term of Rouhani (August 2013-17), IRNA reported.
He noted that half of Iran’s 600,000-square-kilometer explorable area has been examined for mineral reserves.
Gharibpour added that most mining explorations in Iran have been carried out at shallow depths, while deeper excavations would lead to a twofold rise in the discovery of mineral reserves.
According to Deputy Industries Minister Jafar Sarqeini, 460 million tons of minerals were produced in Iran in the last fiscal year (March 2018-19).
This year's target is at 550 million tons.
Sarqeini has stressed the need to explore and discover new reserves as, in view of the current state of proven mineral reserves, Iran’s mineral reserves will only last until the fiscal 2030-31.
Iran is home to 68 types of minerals with more than 37 billion tons of proven reserves and 57 billion tons of potential reserves.
According to the United States Geological Survey, Iran holds the world's largest zinc, ninth largest copper, 10th largest iron ore, fifth largest gypsum and barite, and 10th largest uranium reserves.
Overall, Iran is home to more than 7% of global mineral reserves.