Iran Looks Mineral Reserves to Go beyond Oil
Monday, 29 Jul, 2019
In Brief: Iran’s top man in the mining industry says the country is planning a significant increase in exploration and production activities in the sector as the government seeks to reduce its dependency on oil incomes that have been affected by rounds of sanctions.
The Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization is pursuing plans to expand mineral explorations to cover 300,000 square kilometers by the end of the second term of President Hassan Rouhani (August 2021), says deputy minister of industries, mining and trade.
Khodadad Gharibpour added that IMIDRO carried out exploration over 270,000 square kilometers during the president’s first term in office (August 2013-17), IRNA reported.
He noted that half of Iran’s 600,000-square kilometers of exploratory area has been examined for mineral reserves.
Gharibpour noted that 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.
According to Deputy Industries Minister Jafar Sarqeini, 460 million tons of minerals were produced in the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2019).
The current fiscal year's target is at 550 million tons.
Sarqeini stressed the need to explore and discover new reserves as, considering the current state of proven mineral reserves, Iran’s mineral reserves will only last until the fiscal 2030-31.
The remarks come against the backdrop of reports showing that Iran has managed to largely protect its mining industry exports from sanctions imposed by the United States.
The reports say precious metals such as copper have been shipped from Iran to major buyers in Asia mainly through third party countries, generating billions in foreign currencies in the past Iranian calendar year which ended in March.
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.