EghtesadOnline: Iran exported 36.09 million tons of mineral products valued at $5.61 billion during the first 10 month of the current Iranian year (started March 20, 2020).
Latest figures extracted from Iran Customs Administration's database indicate that shipments during the 10th month of the Iranian year accounted for 3.9 million tons worth $762.29 million of the total sum, IRNA reported.
Steel products topped the list of Iran’s mineral exports, followed by copper cathode and aluminum.
A total of 6.17 million tons of non-ferrous minerals were exported from Iran during the 10-month period, generating $214.91 million.
IRICA’s data showed minerals accounted for 20% of Iran's total non-oil exports during the period under review.
Iran’s overall foreign trade, excluding oil exports, stood at 122.8 million tons worth $58.7 billion in the 10 months ending Jan. 19.
According to Mehdi Mirashrafi, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, exports accounted for 94.54 million tons worth $28.06 billion and imports 28.24 million tons worth $30.63 billion of the sum.
Compared with the corresponding period of last year, exports registered a 17.7% and 20% decline in weight and value respectively.
Imports saw a 2% and 15.5% decrease in weight and value respectively year-on-year.
55b Tons of Reserves
Iran’s mineral reserves currently stand at 55 billion tons, about 37 billion tons of which are proven. New explorations are expected to increase the figure by 30% to 60 billion tons by the end of the current fiscal year (March 2021).
Some 410 million tons of minerals were extracted from Iranian mines in the last Iranian year (ended March 19, 2020).
Iran is home to 68 types of minerals with 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.
Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization, the country’s largest state-owned mining holding company has invested 6 trillion rials ($26 million) in mining exploration across the country during President Hassan Rouhani's first term in office (August 2013-17).
"More than 900 highly potential mining zones have been identified so far … IMIDRO and its subsidiaries have carried out exploration operations over 700,000 square kilometers of the country’s area since 2012, 400,000 of which have been done over the past two years," Khodadad Gharibpour, former head of IMIDRO, was quoted as saying by Fars.
A consortium of private companies accounted for 50,000 square meters of explorations, he added.
“IMIDRO is set to carry out operations on 280 new mining zones,” he said, noting that the remaining zones will be outsourced to the private sector.
Exploration and mining in general cannot begin until mining firms are certified by the Industries Ministry.
“The issued permits cover the excavation of lead, zinc, gold, copper, iron ore, coal and salt, on which work has begun gradually,” Gharibpour said.
Iran is said to have the largest area under mineral exploration in the Middle East.
Investment in Fiscal 2020-21
State-owned Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization and its subsidiaries’ investments in mining projects will reach $2.2 billion in the current Iranian year (ending March 19), in line with plans for boosting Iran's production capacity, IMIDRO wrote on its website.
“IMIDRO will have invested $11.6 billion for the development of the highly-potential mining sector, from the beginning of President Hassan Rouhani's first term in office in August 2013 to the end of fiscal 2020-21. This is while the country has been struggling with the impacts of US government's unilateral withdrawal from the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement and reimposition of sanctions.”
As a major state-owned holding company, IMIDRO has eight major companies and 55 subsidiaries involved in the steel, aluminum, copper, cement and mineral sectors. Among its subsidiaries are the National Iranian Steel Company, National Iranian Copper Industries Company, South Aluminum Company and the Iran Minerals Production and Supply Company.
IMIDRO says it has managed to considerably expand the capacity of mineral production in the country during the past eight years.
"Iron ore concentrates’ capacity has increased by 100% to 57.6 million tons per year. The capacity for producing pellets has also experienced a rise of 116.5% to 47.6 million tons per year. Steel concentrate capacity has grown by 66% to 37.5%," IMIDRO said.
In another update, IMIDRO said that by relying on local production, the mining sector has managed to reduce costs to a great extent.
The target is to save $1 billion by the yearend through localization, reads a press release published by IRNA.
By focusing on domestic potential, IMIDRO aims to help support the country's foreign exchange resources and at the same time empower local producers.
The mining sector managed to meet $350 million of the target during the first half of the current Iranian year (started March 20, 2020).
IMIDRO is optimistic about fulfilling the target, as it has been working on several development projects that are set to speed up the process of indigenization in the mining industry.