EghtesadOnline: The value of Iran’s mineral production will reach $22 billion by the end of the current fiscal year (ending March 19, 2020), says Deputy Industries Minister Jafar Sarqeini.
The country produced $20 billion worth of mineral products in the last Iranian year that ended on March 20, 2019.
According to Sarqeini, $9 billion of the total production last year were exported, while the remaining output worth $11 billion were consumed by domestic industries, IRNA reported.
The official expects exports to hit $10 billion this year, according to Financial Tribune.
Iran has the largest area under mineral exploration in the Middle East, according to Deputy Industries Minister Khodadad Gharibpour.
The Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation, the biggest state-owned mining holding of Iran, plans to cover 300,000 square kilometers of the country's explorable land for mineral explorations by the end of the current fiscal year.
IMIDRO carried out exploration over 270,000 square kilometers during President Hassan Rouhani's first term in office (August 2013-17).
According to Gharibpour, who is also the president of IMIDRO, 65% of Iran’s total explorable mineral areas (1 million kilometers) belong to the organization.
He noted that IMIDRO is expected to invest $3.9 billion in Iran's mining sector by the end of the current year, adding that 10,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created.
“This is while $2.1 billion worth of projects were implemented by IMIDRO in the last Iranian year [March 2018-19],” he said.
Ali Asgharzadeh, IMIDRO’s exploration manager, said the highest volume of explorations in Iran pertains to copper, iron ore and coal.
“The exploration budget is predicted to rise 10% in 2019 compared to 2018,” he said.
Gharibpour said half of Iran’s 600,000 square kilometers has undergone mineral exploration.
However, he noted that most mining explorations in Iran have been carried out at shallow depths, while deeper excavations would lead to a twofold increase in the discovery of mineral reserves.
According to Sarqeini, Iran aims to produce 550 million tons of minerals in the current fiscal year.
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 possesses more than 7% of global mineral reserves.
According to the Persian economic daily Donya-e-Eqtesad, Iran is home to nearly 10,000 mines, only 6,000 of which are active. The country’s mineral reserves stand at 60 billion tons, close to 40 billion tons of which are proven.
IMIDRO carried out 102,000 meters of mineral excavations related to iron ore, coal, bauxite, rare-earth elements, gold and copper during the last Iranian year (March 2018-19).
Mineral excavations cost 947 billion rials ($8.43 million), IRNA reported.
IMIDRO carried out mineral explorations over an area of 270,000 square kilometers from the fiscal 2014-15 to the end of the fiscal 2018-19. The organization plans to explore 300,000-310,000 square kilometers by the end of the current fiscal year (March 2020).
Steel Tops List of Mineral Exports
Semi-finished and finished steel products took the lion’s share of Iran's mineral exports in terms of value, as about 8.9 million tons worth about $4.11 billion were shipped overseas, up 3% and 17% YOY in volume and value respectively.
The category of “other mineral products” came second with about 9.75 million tons worth about $1.35 billion. The volume and value of shipments grew 15% and 9% respectively YOY.
Copper and downstream products came third with 365,070 tons worth about $917.53 million, down by 52% in tonnage and up by 13% in value YOY.
These were followed by cement with about 13.71 million tons valued at $420.25 million, up 3% and down 17% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Exported mineral commodities from Iran during the period under review were iron ore concentrate with 5.87 million tons worth $380.95 million, stones with 5.87 million tons worth $342.13 million, metals with 207,050 tons worth $318.6 million, iron ore (fines/lumps) with 8.84 million tons worth $258.75 million, zinc with 121,220 million tons worth $255.81 million, iron ore (pellet) with 2.78 million tons worth $201.92 million, aluminum with 92,490 tons worth $178.05 million, lead with 99,030 tons worth $128.01 million, direct-reduced iron with 533,620 tons worth $105.17 million and ferroalloy with 50,440 tons worth $73 million.
Coal and coke with 425,420 tons worth $72.61 million, chrome with 316,870 tons worth $55.46 million, molybdenum with 3,140 tons worth $32.94 million, pottery and bricks with 85,940 tons worth $11.44 million, antimony with 930 tons worth $1.78 million, titanium with 150 tons worth $0.39 million, mining equipment with 100 tons worth $0.2 million, alumina powder with 220 tons worth $0.16 million, precious metals with 50 tons worth $0.16 million, mica with 80 tons worth $0.04 million and nickel with 10 tons worth $0.03 million were some of the other major mineral exports.
$3.5b Worth of Imports
According to IMIDRO, a total of 3.34 million tons of mineral products worth $3.57 billion were imported into Iran last year, down 41% in tonnage and 34% in value year-on-year
Steel also had the largest share among Iran's mineral imports during the year in terms of value, as 1.32 million tons worth $1.28 billion were imported, down 56.7% and 44% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
The category of "other mineral products" came second with 682,320 tons worth $583.11 million, down 32.1% in volume and 29.9% in value YOY.
Mining equipment was next with 22,750 tons worth $249.66 million, down 40% and 0.3% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Imported commodities included ferroalloy with 179,930 tons worth $233.53 million, aluminum with 109,300 tons worth $217.63 million, coal and coke with 658,360 tons worth $202.23 million, metals with 70,930 tons worth $179.06 million, alumina powder with 312,950 tons worth $176.67 million, titanium with 44,860 tons worth $134.5 million, pottery and bricks with 37,170 tons worth $110.45 million, lead with 15,310 tons worth $42.79 million, stone products with 36,790 tons worth $39.08 million and cement with 46,490 tons worth $34.09 million.
Zinc with 95,870 tons worth $29.18 million, nickel with 1,520 tons worth $24.62 million, copper and downstream products with 1,870 tons worth $17.42 million, chrome with 2,880 tons worth $7.07 million, antimony with 260 tons worth $2.67 million, $1.37 million of precious stones, molybdenum with 70 tons worth $1.14 million, mica with 910 tons worth $0.66 million and DRI with 320 tons worth $0.34 million were some of the other major mineral imports.