Economy, Business And Markets

IMIDRO-GSI Deal to Help Lift Mining

IMIDRO-GSI Deal  to Help Lift MiningIMIDRO-GSI Deal  to Help Lift Mining

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) and the Geological Survey of Iran to expand cooperation on development of mine exploration operations, IRNA reported.

The MoU signed by IMIDRO head Mehdi Karbaisan and GSI director Mohammad Taghi Koreh'i is aimed at exploring the areas previously studied by the GSI through aerial surveys in a bid to discover new mines.

IMIDRO, as the country's major state-owned holding company active in the mining sector, will recommend the high-potential areas and the GSI, as the authorized body to carry out geological and mineral investigations throughout the country, will supervise the aerial geophysical operations and surveys.

The agreement requires both parties to form a joint exploration committee which will outline and approve the exploration process. The agreement also requires IMIDRO to provide money for all of the exploration operations, while noting that the rights to the discovered data belong to IMIDRO.

"IMIDRO's participation in the exploration operations and its financial support could help the exploration activities progress exponentially", said Koreh'i, noting that Iran is located in an area of high mineral resource potential, with huge iron, zinc, lead, and gold reserves.

According to the GSI director, the average time from carrying out the initial studies before mine extraction in Iran is between five to eight years, which needs to be reduced. "Also, the maximum depth of exploration in the country is only about 30 meters, while the global average is 79 meters," he noted.

The recent MoU is an extension to a primary deal clinched back in December 2013 between the ministry of industry, mine, and trade, IMIDRO and the GSI to explore 200,000 square kilometers of the country's soil in Sangan district of the northeastern Razavi Khorasan province.

> IMIDRO Invests $43.4 m in Exploration

The IMIDRO head says his organization has allocated 1.2 trillion rials ($43.4 million based on official exchange rates) as the exploration budget for next year, which in his words indicates "a huge leap considering that the total budget allocated for such operations over the past decade was only $25 million in total."

IMIDRO, through implementing such vast exploration operations, aims at discovering new iron ore mines in order to supply the steel sector with sufficient raw material. According to the Vision Plan, as much as 55 million tons of crude steel should be produced per annum by the year 2025 while the current production rate barely reaches 20 million tons. Another goal pursued by IMIDRO is to develop exploration, extraction, and processing of rare earth elements (REEs) as "a few kilograms of the REEs are worth dozens of tons of ordinary minerals" according to Karbasian.