EghtesadOnline: The state-owned Iran Minerals Production and Supply Company handed over about 50 trillion rials ($284.09 million) worth of mineral projects to the private sector in the last fiscal that ended on March 19, 2020.
Iran Minerals Production and Supply Company (IMPASCO) is a subsidiary of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO).
As reported by IRNA, IMPASCO and IMIDRO have privatized 265 trillion rials ($1.5 billion) worth of mineral projects since the fiscal 2016-17.
IMIDRO expects 18 projects in the mining sector with a total investment of $2.56 billion to become operational in the current fiscal year (March 2020-21).
Around 33% of the projects are related to steel production chain, while 15% pertain to electricity supply and road maintenance, IRNA reported.
One of the biggest projects is the second development phase of South Kaveh Steel Company’s billet production unit, which is to come on stream at a cost of $571 million.
The projects are spread across 12 provinces of Iran. Semnan Province has the highest share with three projects, followed by Yazd, East Azarbaijan, Khorasan Razavi and Kerman—each with two projects.
Hormozgan, Fars, Khuzestan, South Khorasan, Qazvin, West Azarbaijan and Golestan each have one project on the agenda.
It is estimated that IMIDRO’s projects in the mining sector during the fiscal 2019-20 to 2023-4 will hit 104 with a total investment of $16.43 billion.
There are around 50 billion tons of proven mineral reserves in Iran.
Discoveries carried out over the past few years have led to a significant increase in Iran’s proven mineral reserves, which includes at least 60 types of minerals.
Most of the newly-discovered mines contain rich resources of copper, which are mostly concentrated in southeast and northwest areas of Iran.
Iran has the largest area under mineral exploration in the Middle East.
Around 65% of Iran’s total explorable mineral areas (1 million kilometers) belong to IMIDRO.
Ali Asgharzadeh, IMIDRO’s exploration manager, said the highest volume of explorations in Iran pertains to copper, iron ore and coal.
Half of Iran’s 600,000 square kilometers has undergone mineral exploration. However, he says 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 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.