Economy, Business And Markets

Mineral Reserves to Grow 50%

Mineral Reserves to Grow 50% Mineral Reserves to Grow 50%

The ministry of industry, mine, and trade has predicted a growth of between 40% and 50% in mineral reserves in terms of both volume and value, Mehr news reported on Sunday.

The prediction is based on the vast exploration operations which started last year. Until recently, only 7% of the country's area had been explored and the minerals were reportedly worth more than $700 billion. The recent exploration operations on 200,000 square kilometers of land in the eastern regions, though, led to the discovery of 250 million metric tons of iron ore reserves, 200 million tons of coal and 30 tons of gold. The explorations are supposed to continue this Iranian calendar year (started March 21), focusing on the western regions.  

Mining experts believe with good management in the mining sector for at least one decade, the sector could be a good alternative for oil revenues. Currently, 68 types of minerals have been discovered or extracted while the probable reserves stand at 57 billion tons. Developing the capacities in the mining sector, particularly in exploration and extraction, require modern technology and equipment, which is expected to be provided once western sanctions against Iran over its nuclear energy program are lifted.  

> 30 Tons of New Gold Reserves

According to deputy minister of industry, mine and trade, Mehdi Karbasian, 30 tons of new gold reserves have been discovered in the country, ISNA reported.

As many as 10 major exploration regions have been identified and activated so far but the general tendency to invest in gold mining is not strong due to high risks, said Karbasian, who is also the head of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO).

According to the head of Geological Survey of Iran (GSI), Mohammad-Taqi Koreh'ei, the administration did not invest in gold sector until few years ago since the general perception was that the country had no considerable gold reserves. However, new explorations invalidated the earlier assumption, he explained.

"The contractor for Sary Guney gold mine, for instance, has so far discovered 14 metric tons of proven gold reserves while recent explorations have increased the proven reserves to 60 tons", the GSI head said, adding that estimations point to the existence of a 140-ton probable reserve in a gold mine in the western Kurdestan Province.

Iran, occupying 1 % of the world's area, produces 1% of the global 2,500-ton gold per year. Mouteh and Zarshooran mines are currently the major producers of the precious metal and produce up to 7 tons per annum. Officials claim once Sary Guney is operational, annual output can increase to 25 tons.