EghtesadOnline: Iran has 55 billion tons of mineral reserves, about 33 billion tons of which are proven, according to the head of Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration of Iran.
Alireza Shahidi added that 450 million tons of minerals were extracted in Iran during the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2019) to register a 10% year-on-year rise, IRNA reported.
He noted that mineral exports amounted to 5.7 million tons worth $9.2 billion last year. This year, they are expected to revolve around the same figure, as 120 countries are destinations of Iran's mineral exports.
The value of Iran’s mineral production will reach $22 billion by the end of the current fiscal year (March 19, 2020), Financial Tribune quoted Deputy Industries Minister Jafar Sarqeini as saying.
The country produced $20 billion worth of mineral products in the last Iranian year that ended on March 20, 2019.
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.
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).