EghtesadOnline: The share of mineral products in Iran's total non-oil exports will reach 25% by the end of the current Iranian year (March 19, 2020), says Deputy Industries Minister Jafar Sarqeini.
Speaking to IRNA, the official noted that the share was at 22% last year (March 2018-19).
The deputy minister expects mineral exports to hit $10 billion by the fiscal yearend, Financial Tribune reported.
Iran exported 15.8 million tons of minerals worth $3.89 billion during the first half of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sept. 22), registering a rise of 27.3% and 11.7% in tonnage and value respectively compared with last year’s corresponding period, announced an official with the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran.
“Steel ingots topped the list of Iran’s mineral exports, as the country exported 3.16 million tons of steel ingots worth $1.19 billion during the six months,” said Elaheh Mokri, citing data from the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
Other major commodities were iron ores and 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 official website.
China was the top importer of Iranian minerals during the period under review, as the East Asian nation imported $1.2 billion worth of minerals from Iran. It 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.
These countries accounted for 85.6% of the total minerals exported from Iran in the six-month period.
Overall non-oil exports during the first half of the current year, according to the Islamic Republic of Customs Administration, stood at 70 million tons worth $20.94 billion to register a 22.5% growth in weight but a 10.55% year-on-year decrease in value compared with the same period of the last year.
China, Iraq, Turkey, the UAE and Afghanistan were Iran’s main export destinations over the period under review.
Exports to China stood at $5.1 billion, accounting for 24.37% of total exports.
Iraq imported $4.66 billion worth of non-oil goods from Iran, accounting for 22.26% of Iran’s overall exports.
Exports to Turkey stuck around $2.55 billion to account for 12.18% of Iran total exports.
Non-oil goods sold to the UAE were worth $2.35 billion, constituting 11.25% of Iran’s overall exports.
Exports to Afghanistan reached $1.07 billion. The neighbor to the east accounted for 5.13% of Iran’s total exports during the period under review.
By “non-oil”, IRICA refers to all commodities, except crude oil. Therefore, oil-driven products and byproducts, as well as petrochemical products, are still categorized as non-oil.
IRICA categorizes non-oil exports into three groups of “petrochemicals”, “gas condensates” and “others”.
55b Tons of Mineral Reserves
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 and are expected to revolve around the same figure this year, as 120 countries are destinations of Iran's mineral exports.
According to Sarqeini, 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.
“Iran has the largest area under mineral exploration in the Middle East,” Deputy Industries Minister Khodadad Gharibpour said.
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.
Sarqeini said 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.
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.
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.