Economy, Business And Markets

Benefits of Investing in Iran's Mining Sector

Benefits of Investing in Iran's Mining SectorBenefits of Investing in Iran's Mining Sector

Ranked among 15 major mineral-rich countries for its 7% share of the global mineral resources, Iran is one of the most prominent mineral producers in the world endowed with a diversity of deposits. It includes 68 types of minerals, 37 billion tons of proven reserves and more than 57 billion tons of potential reserves worth $770 billion as of 2014.

The country is also a worldwide exporter of main metals, including iron, lead, zinc, copper, titanium and rare elements, that run the engine of development in the new world economy, according to Persian economic daily Donya-e-Eqtesad.

The most important minerals in Iran include coal, metallic minerals, sand and gravel, chemicals and salt, whose production currently contributes only 0.6% to the country's GDP.

The first comprehensive and systematic mineral exploration was conducted by the former Soviet Union in 1960s and 1970s. Since then, all exploration operations have been carried out on a case-by-case basis leaving a large part of Iran, including the Lut Desert in southeastern Kerman Province unmapped and untapped.

In 2012, World Trade Organization conducted a series of comprehensive studies to map out mineral resources in the world by 2035. Iran was listed as one of the main suppliers of minerals, ore in particular, globally in the years to come.

The best way to enter and invest in the Iranian mining sector is to focus on the vast yet unexploited resources as well as untouched regions of the country that are yet to be explored, studied and extracted via the world's latest technologies.

Additionally, Iran supplies to neighboring countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf littoral states that depend on imported raw materials for operating their steel industries.

Another advantage of Iran is the suitable infrastructure. The country has at its disposal 1,400 kilometers of marine borders (excluding islands) and a number of harbors that provide convenient and inexpensive access to free waters, which help offer products in international markets at much lower prices compared to average global prices.

With about 18% of the world's total natural gas reserves and roughly 10% of the world's proven oil reserves, Iran claims a unique place in supplying the energy for mining operations. The reasonable prices of such energy carriers, sometimes offered at up to 50% less than global prices, make Iran the country of choice for large companies to finish their operations from extraction to production.

Iran pioneered mining and geology education in the region some 70 years ago having trained more than 50,000 mining and metallurgy engineers and technicians as well as geological experts so far.

Despite access to large amounts of mineral reserves, lack of access to free waters and infrastructures such as railroads, roads, professional human resources and sufficient energy makes neighboring countries like Afghanistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan less attractive alternatives for investment.

However, Iran can act as the gateway to mines in the Middle East and West Asia. Setting up stations and investments in Iran also enables access to unexploited resources in these countries through free waters and extensive railroads that connect Iran to most countries in the region.

Given the vast reserves, proper infrastructure, access to free waters, comparatively low-priced energy and specialized labor force in the mining sector, Iran can be the utopia of foreign investors in the not-too-distant future.