EghtesadOnline: The area under mineral explorations in Iran expanded by 50,000 square kilometers during the first six months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Sept. 21), according to the Geological Survey and Mineral Explorations of Iran.
“Plans are high on the agenda to carry out explorations over 115,000 square kilometers by the end of the current fiscal year [March 20, 2021],” said Alireza Shahidi, the head of GIS.
"The outbreak of Covid-19 caused delays in exploration projects across the country … but we expect to hit 100,000 square kilometers of exploration by the [fiscal] yearend [March 20, 2021]."
Over 26,000 meters of underground mining exploration were undertaken during the first half of the current Iranian year by Iran Minerals Production and Supply Company.
According to IMIDRO's news service, IMPASCO's explorations in H1 were limited to the discovery of iron ore and polymetals.
IMPASCO is a subsidiary of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization and the holding’s production and processing arm in metallurgic coke, iron ore, gold, ferrochrome, phosphate, limestone, potash, titanium, lead and zinc, according to data on the company’s website.
Expanding the horizons of explorations is propelled by large-scale investments by IMIDRO in the past several years. The mining holding's total investment in mineral excavations has reached 600 billion rials ($2.14 million) since President Hassan Rouhani began his first tenure in August 2013.
Earlier in April, the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization was tasked with exploring 652,061 square kilometers for discovering minerals in 30 Iranian provinces.
Iran is said to have the largest area under mineral exploration in the Middle East.
A total of 309 mining projects became operational during the first half of the current Iranian year (March 20-Sept. 21), registering a 7.7% growth compared with the same period of last year.
Latest statistics released by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade show a total of 472 exploration permission were issued in H1, showing an 8% rise compared with the same period of last year, IRNA reported.
“Exploration and mining in general cannot begin until mining firms are certified by the Industries Ministry. So far, 110 mineral exploration certificates have been issued,” he said.
“The permits cover the excavation of lead, zinc, gold, copper, iron ore, coal and salt, on which work has begun gradually.”
According to Deputy Industries Minister Khodadad Gharibpour, who is also the president of IMIDRO, 65% of Iran’s total explorable mineral areas (1 million kilometers) belong to the organization, which is the biggest state-owned mining holding of Iran.
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.
The country has 55 billion tons of mineral reserves, about 33 billion tons of which are proven.
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.