Economy, Business And Markets

Mine Explorations Lead to Major Discoveries

Mine Explorations Lead to Major Discoveries Mine Explorations Lead to Major Discoveries

Vast exploration operations have resulted in the discovery of more than 250 million metric tons of iron ore reserves as well as 150 million tons of coal; Fooladnews cited chairman of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) board of directors, Mehdi Karbasian.

"IMIDRO started exploration operations on 200,000 square kilometers of land, later adding 10,000 square kilometers to the operations. The discovered mineral reserves were found within one third of the explored area," said Karbasian.

Karbasian, who is also deputy minister of industry, mine, and trade, added that the exploration operations will continue in the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), expressing confidence that more mineral reserves are to be discovered this year.

The official had earlier informed that IMIDRO, as the country's major state-owned holding company active in the mining sector, plans to expand mining exploration operations into the western regions of the country. The new exploration operations will be carried out in the western provinces of Kurdistan, Zanjan, and West Azarbaijan. Last year, IMIDRO started the vast exploration operations in the eastern areas of the country after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the industry ministry and the Geological Survey of Iran (GSI) in December 2013.

According to the 2025 Vision Plan, the steel sector should produce at least 55 million tons of crude steel within the next decade. But the biggest obstacle in the way of achieving the goal is the lack of raw material for steel production; namely the iron ore. According to IMIDRO, the new exploration operations will provide the steel sector with sufficient iron ore concentrate and iron ore pellets by 2025, though the exploration operations need modern technology and technical know-how which the country lacks.

Meanwhile, experts predict that a possible lifting of sanctions against Iran [imposed by the West over its nuclear energy program] could help pave the way for obtaining modern machinery and equipment by the mining sector.    

"The recent nuclear understanding could encourage foreign financiers to invest in Iran's mining and mineral industries sectors," deputy chairman of Iran Mine House (IMH), Mohammad-Reza Bahraman told IRNA on Saturday, referring to the understanding reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

According to Bahraman, the mining sector is currently capable of extracting minerals at depths of up to 150 meters, adding that participation of foreign investors in the mining projects would enable domestic miners to use modern equipment and machinery and help them extract minerals at greater depths.

Noting that the private sector can speed up development in the mining sector after a possible final nuclear deal, he urged the parliament to relax the rules regarding the absorption of investment to further encourage foreign investors to enter the economy.

The IMH deputy chairman emphasized great potential for value addition in the mining sector which he said could help the economy grow substantially. He also underlined strong presence by private sector companies as a high priority for the sector.