EghtesadOnline: Iran exported $4.63 billion worth of ferrous minerals in the first seven months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Oct. 22), the head of the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade's Mines and Mineral Industries Department said.
Citing statistics from the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Elaheh Mokri added that steel ingots topped the list of exports as a total of 3.74 million tons of the product worth $1.41 billion were exported during the seven months.
Iron ore and concentrate was next with $683 million, followed by long steel products with $668 million, copper cathode with $475 million, flat steel products with $249 million, zinc ingot with $191 million, and copper ore and concentrate with $144 million.
The abovementioned seven products accounted for 82.66% of the total value of ferrous mineral exports, Financial Tribune quoted her as saying.
Mokri noted that the average export prices of iron ore and concentrate, flat steel products, copper cathode, aluminum ingot and lead ingot increased while those of copper ore and concentrate, steel ingot, ferroalloys, long steel products, steel pipes and profiles, faucets and zinc ingots decreased during the period on a year-on-year basis, IRNA reported.
China was the main export destination of Iranian ferrous minerals as the East Asian nation imported $1.56 billion worth of products from Iran, followed by Iraq with $511 million, Indonesia with $514 million, Thailand with $348 million, Turkey with $334 million, Afghanistan with $201 million, the UAE with $156 million, Oman with $140 million, Pakistan with $119 million and Ghana with $118 million.
Exports to China witnessed a 150% year-on-year growth, while exports to Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey saw a respective YOY rise of 135%, 396% and 13%.
China imported $673 million worth of iron ore and concentrate, $408 million worth of copper cathode, $127 million worth of copper ore and concentrate, $57 million worth of zinc ingot and $207 million worth of steel ingots from Iran.
Indonesia imported $503 million worth of steel ingots.
Afghanistan imported $119 million worth of long steel products.
Iraq imported $214 million worth of long steel products, $65 million worth of flat steel products and $45 million worth of steel pipes and profiles.
Turkey imported $93 million worth of zinc ingots, $77 million worth of long steel products, $42 million worth of aluminum ingots and $20 million worth of ferroalloys.
Thailand imported $311 million worth of steel ingots, in addition to $37 million worth of flat steel products.
And Pakistan imported $106 million worth of long steel products from Iran during the period under review.
“The share of mineral products from Iran's total non-oil exports will reach 25% by the end of the current Iranian year [March 19, 2020],” says Deputy Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Jafar Sargheini.
Speaking to IRNA, the official noted that the share was at 22% in the last fiscal year (March 2018-19).
The deputy minister expects Iran’s total mineral exports to hit $10 billion by the end of the current fiscal year.
*** 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.
According to Sarqeini, the value of Iran’s mineral production will reach $22 billion by the end of the current fiscal year.
The country produced $20 billion worth of mineral products in the last Iranian year.
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 exploration 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,” he said.
Ali Asgharzadeh, IMIDRO’s exploration manager, said the highest volume of explorations in Iran pertains to copper, iron ore and coal.
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.
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.
The excavations cost 947 billion rials ($7.28 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.