EghtesadOnline: About $3.2 billion were invested in Iran’s mining and mineral industries during the last fiscal year (ended March 19, 2020) to register a 60% rise compared to the year before, says the spokesperson of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization.
According to Mohammad Sepehr, the Covid-19 outbreak postponed the inauguration of several projects, IRNA reported.
According Khodadad Gharibpour, chairman of IMIDRO, 31 mineral projects worth $2.27 billion will come on stream in the current Iranian year.
“The projects will create 4,113 direct and 23,280 indirect jobs. More than $1 billion worth of the projects will be inaugurated by the private sector with IMIDRO’s support,” he added.
Gharibpour noted that these projects include the 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).
Sepehr said 310,000 square kilometers of explorations were carried out last year, which indicate a 210% rise compared to the year before.
What is more, 4,790 direct jobs were created in the mining sector during the period, up by 30% year-on-year.
The IMIDRO spokesman sadi 3,670 new jobs are expected to be created this year.
Referring to small mines, he said 146 small mines were revived in the last fiscal year while 200 small mines have been planned to be revived this year.
According to deputy minister of industries, mining and trade, Daryoush Esmaeili, Iran is home to more than 10,000 mines, around 1,400 of which are currently inactive.
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.
Construction materials account for 60-65% of Iran’s mineral extractions.
The industries minister also noted that Iran is among the top 10 countries in terms of mineral reserves.
According to Esmaeili, Iran’s mineral reserves currently stand at 50 billion tons.
New explorations are expected to increase the figure by 20% to 60 billion tons by the end of the current year [March 2021], he added.
The mineral sector had a 25% share in Iran’s total non-oil exports last year, he was quoted as saying by IRIB News.
Gharibpour said Iran has the largest area under mineral exploration in the Middle East.
IMIDRO official Mohammad Aqajanloo said 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.
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.
Manager of exploration at IMIDRO, Ali Asgharzadeh, says the highest volume of explorations in Iran pertains to copper, iron ore and coal.
Gharibpour says most mining explorations in Iran have been carried out at shallow depths, while excavating deeper 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.