EghtesadOnline: A total of 470 million tons of minerals were extracted in Iran in the last fiscal year (ended March 19, 2020), says Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Reza Rahmani, adding that the figure is expected to exceed 500 million tons this year (March 2020-21).
According to the minister, metals will account for 35% of this year's projected figure, Mizan Online reported.
State-owned Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization, taking its subsidiaries into account, has a 30% share in the country’s mineral extraction.
According to IMIDRO official, Omid Emami, the holding company owns and operates 15 mines while Iran Minerals Production and Supply Company owns 21.
A total of 10,404 mines had operation licenses in the fiscal 2018-19, 5,600 of which were active.
Construction materials account for 60-65% of Iran’s mineral extractions, IRNA reported.
Among Top 10 Countries in Mineral Reserves
The industries minister noted that Iran is among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of mineral reserves.
“Iran’s mineral reserves currently stand at 50 billion tons,” Deputy Industries Minister Daryoush Esmaeili said recently, adding that new explorations are expected to increase the figure by 20% to 60 billion tons by the end of the current Iranian year (March 2021).
The mines and mineral industries sector had a 25% share in Iran’s total non-oil exports last year, he was quoted as saying by IRIB News.
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 Organization has been tasked with exploring 652,061 square kilometers for minerals in 30 Iranian provinces,” says IMIDRO official, Mohammad Aqajanlou.
IMIDRO carried out exploration over 270,000 square kilometers during President Hassan Rouhani's first term in office (August 2013-17).
About 65% of Iran’s total explorable mineral areas (1 million kilometers) belong to the organization.
Ali Asgharzadeh, IMIDRO’s exploration manager, says the highest volume of explorations in Iran pertain to copper, iron ore and coal.
Gharibpour said most mining explorations in Iran have been carried out at shallow depths, while deeper excavation would lead to a twofold increase in the discovery of mineral reserves.
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 is home to more than 7% of global mineral reserves.
$2.2b Worth of Mineral Projects Expected This Year
According to Gharibpour, who is also IMIDRO’s chairman, 31 mineral projects worth $2.27 billion will come on stream in the current Iranian year.
The projects will create 4,113 direct as well as 23,280 indirect jobs, he said.
“More than $1 billion worth of the projects will be inaugurated by the private sector with IMIDRO’s support,” he told IRNA.
These projects include establishment of South Kaveh’s fresh water production unit (55,000 cubic meters per day), South Kaveh’s billet production unit (1.2 million tons per year), and Zarand Steel Production Unit (1.7 million tons per year), he noted.
Sales of TSE-Listed Mining Firms
IMIDRO recently released a new report on the sales of 72 heavyweight Tehran Stock Exchange-listed mining and mineral industries companies.
According to the report, the aggregate sales volume of the firms under review stood at 1.56 quadrillion rials ($9.6 billion) in the last fiscal year to register a 60% rise compared with last year's corresponding period.
Their sales volume during the 12th month of the year (Feb. 20-March 19) stood at 149.66 trillion rials ($920 million) to register a 0.36% decline compared to the previous month and a 21% rise compared to last year's similar month.
Mobarakeh Steel Company registered the highest sales volume among the firms during the year under review with 391.43 trillion rials ($2.4 billion), up 67% year-on-year.
The company’s sales during the 12th month of the year stood at 25.49 trillion rials ($156.8 million), indicating a 3% YOY and a 33% month-on-month decrease.
MSC is the biggest steelmaker in Iran and the Middle East and North Africa region, accounting for about half of the country's steel production.
The company’s steel production capacity stands at 10.2 million tons per year, while its actual production is 8.7 million tons. The mill’s steel sheet production stands at 7.3 million tons per year.
“We expect to face new demand in the future,which require higher quality, more solid, anti-corrosion, lighter and more affordable steel products,” MSC Managing Director Hamid Reza Azimian has been quoted as saying.
MSC plans to establish a second hot rolling mill, which is expected to make the country self-sufficient in steel sheet production.
Azimian added that MSC’s Hot Rolling Mill No. 2 will have a production capacity of 4.5 million tons of HRC per year.
“We have reached an agreement with a foreign company. The project requires €260 million worth of investment, 54% of which [amounting to €140.4 million] will be procured domestically while the remaining 46% will be funded by the foreign side,” he told Financial Tribune on the sidelines of the 10th edition of Iranian Steel & Iron Ore Market Conference and Expo held on Jan. 21-22 at the IRIB International Conference Center in Tehran.
According to Azimian, the project will create 1,000 direct jobs at MSC and 8,000 indirect jobs, once it becomes operational.
It will completely meet the Iranian industries’ demand for different types of steel sheet in various sizes and qualities, he added.
As per the agreement with the foreign contractor, the project will take 900 days to complete before it comes on stream.