Economy, Business And Markets

Stones Sector Potential Remains Untapped

Stones Sector Potential  Remains Untapped
Stones Sector Potential  Remains Untapped

Iran extracts about 17 million tons of decorative stones annually, only 4% of which is exported, generating revenues of about $200 million per year, chairman of Stone Association of Iran, Abolqasem Shafeie said on Sunday.

“Currently only about 20% of the 1,900 stone mines in the country are active. If at least 1,000 mines operate at normal capacity, exports could exceed $1 billion,” Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.

The previous government provided loans from the foreign exchange reserves to as many as 600 stone factories to modernize their production lines with equipment imported from Italy, according to Shafeie. “However, the stone sector has so far not met the expectations in terms of production and export,” he said.

“There are 6,600 stone-cutting factories in the country, but their efficiency is hampered by lack of skilled workforce and state-of-the-art equipment and machinery.”

According to the official, mining explorations in Iran are generally carried out at shallow depths not exceeding 100 meters. “This is while in countries such as South Africa, minerals are extracted from the depths of up to 7,000 meters,” he said.

The seventh International Exhibition of Natural Stone, Mine, Related Machinery and Equipment is scheduled to be held on July 20-23 in Tehran’s permanent fairground.

According to Shafeie, more than 90 domestic and 24 foreign companies will be attending the event to showcase their latest products and equipment.

“Expert discussion panels are also scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the exhibition to facilitate the exchange of experience among participants,” he said.

Companies from Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, China, South Korea, Russia, Turkey and India will participate in the exhibition.