EghtesadOnline: A total of 99 small-scale mines have been revived in Iran since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21, 2019), the head of Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation said.
Khodadad Gharibpour added that the figure indicates that IMIDRO has so far realized 66% of its target regarding the revival of small mines this year, according to Financial Tribune.
IMIDRO aim to revive a total of 150 small mines by the end of the current fiscal year (March 19), which would lead to the creation of 3,000 jobs, IRNA reported.
Earlier, Gharibpour had noted that there are about 4,000 inactive mines in Iran.
“Small mines in Iran hold an 85% share in the mining sector’s employment, while they have a 65% share in mining output,” he said.
About 138,000 people are employed in Iranian mines while mining industries employ more than 500,000 people.
Iran is home to around 55 billion tons of mineral reserves, about 33 billion tons of which are proved, according to the head of Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration of Iran.
Alireza Shahidi added that a total of 450 million tons of minerals were extracted from mines during the last Iranian year that ended on March 20, 2019, to register a 10% year-on-year rise.
He added that mineral exports amounted to 5.7 million tons worth $9.2 billion last year, which are expected to revolve around the same figure this year, as 120 countries are destinations of Iran's mineral exports.
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 is home to more than 7% of global mineral reserves.
“The value of Iran’s mineral production will reach $22 billion by the end of the current fiscal year [March 19],” says Deputy Industries Minister Jafar Sarqeini.
The country produced $20 billion worth of mineral products in the last Iranian year.
According to Gharibpour, Iran has the largest area under mineral exploration in the Middle East.
IMIDRO, 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.
It carried out exploration over 270,000 square kilometers during President Hassan Rouhani's first term in office (August 2013-17).
According to Gharibpour, 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.
“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.
IMIDRO carried out 102,000 meters of mineral excavations related to iron ore, coal, bauxite, rare-earth elements, gold and copper in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19) at a cost of 947 billion rials ($7.17 million).