EghtesadOnline: Iran exported 15.8 million tons of mineral products worth $3.89 billion during the first half of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sept. 22) to register a 27.3% and 11.7% growth in tonnage and value respectively compared with last year’s corresponding period, Elaheh Mokri, an official with the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, said.
“Steel ingots topped the list of exports as the country shipped out 3.16 million tons worth $1.19 billion during the period under review,” the official noted, citing data from the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
Other major exported commodities were iron ore concentrates with $617 million, followed by long steel products with $575 million, copper cathode with $263 million, rolled flat steel products with $230 million, zinc ingots with $174 million and copper ores and concentrates with $115 million, TPO wrote on its website.
China was the top importer of Iranian minerals during the period under review, as it imported $1.2 billion worth of minerals from Iran, Financial Tribune reported.
China was followed by Iraq with $454 million, Indonesia with $422 million, Thailand with $302 million, Turkey with $296 million, Afghanistan with $174 million, the UAE with $144 million, Oman with $125 million, Pakistan with $110 million and Ghana with $103 million worth of imports from Iran.
The above-mentioned countries accounted for 85.6% of the total minerals exported from Iran during the six-month period.
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.
Earlier, Deputy Industries Minister Jafar Sarqeini said the value of Iran’s mineral production will reach $22 billion by the end of the current fiscal year (March 19, 2020).
The country produced $20 billion worth of mineral products in the last Iranian year that ended on March 20, 2019.
According to Deputy Industries Minister Khodadad Gharibpour, Iran has the largest area under mineral exploration in the Middle East.
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).
Gharibpour, who is also the president of IMIDRO, said 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.
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.
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.
The excavations cost 947 billion rials ($8.43 million), IRNA reported.