New discoveries in Iran could increase mineral reserves to $1.4 trillion
The country has one of the world's largest mineral reserves, which are currently worth about $700 billion. (Wikimedia)
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Iran possesses 7 percent of the world’s total mineral reserves worth about $700 billion but this figure could rise to $1.4 trillion with new discoveries, a mining official says.
The country is one of the top 10 mineral-rich countries where 68 types of minerals have been identified so far, including the world’s largest deposits of copper, zinc and iron ore.
The Iranian Mines, Mining Industries Development and Renovation (IMIDRO) Chief Adviser Nasser Bozorgmehr said up to 10 development plans worth $372 million have been prepared for this year, including a titanium production project.
“Iran lies in the belt of metallic and non-metallic minerals such as gold and copper and the provinces of Kerman, Yazd, East and West Azarbaijan and Golestan have immense volumes of mineral reserves,” he said at a mines and mining industries conference in Tehran.
The mining industry in Iran is highly underdeveloped, accounting for only one percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Bozorgmehr said Iran’s known mineral reserves have been found on explorations over only 7 percent of Iran’s total area. “This figure shows very well that our known and unknown potentials in the mining sector are high.”
In July, Deputy Industry Minister and IMIDRO head Mehdi Karbasian said Iran had introduced $29 billion worth of mining projects to a trade and investment conference held with the EU in Vienna.
The projects include production of aluminum, steel, rare earth elements, copper, gold and coal by tapping Iran’s mineral reserves, he said.
“Current projects have a value of $9 billion and future schemes are worth $20 billion,” said the official, projecting they would create about 70,000 jobs when they get underway.
In June, Iran hosted a handful of foreign managers in the sector, including from global miner Rio Tinto, in its biggest mining event yet to roll out reserves for development.
Foreign companies are encouraged by the July conclusion of nuclear talks which would lift sanctions preventing them from venturing into major enterprises in Iran.
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