Economy, Business And Markets

Plan to Export $2b Worth of Stones p.a. by 2020

Plan to Export $2b Worth of Stones p.a. by 2020Plan to Export $2b Worth of Stones p.a. by 2020

Plans are underway to increase annual stone exports by 13-fold to reach $2 billion by 2020, says a member of the board of directors of Stone Association of Iran.

“The number is quite big, but we do have the potential to reach it,” Jamshid Molaei was also quoted as saying by Eghtesad Online.

“The industry exported less than $150 million worth of stones in the last Iranian year (March 2015-16) and plans to cross the $200 million mark by the end of the current year.”

According to the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, Iran holds about 5 billion tons of ornamental stone reserves and produces close to 14 million tons per year.

Most of Iran’s decorative stones are said to be unmatched worldwide in terms of color diversity and quality. However, domestic stone producers’ shortage of liquidity and modern manufacturing technologies has impeded the industry’s path to growth.

“More than half of Iran’s stone factories are currently out of business,” says the head of Stone Association of Iran, Ahmad Sharifi.

Sharifi believes the stone sector’s top priority should be to boost exports even if it means selling unprocessed stones, as it happens to be more profitable than when the product is processed.

He cited the example of Italy, one of the world’s top stone producers and exporters, which exports close to half of its unprocessed and unrefined stone output.

Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh thinks otherwise, arguing that raw exports deprive the country of a great deal of added value.

Decorative stone exports were banned back in 2006 to put an end to sales of unprocessed minerals. This dealt a serious blow to the sector’s standing in international markets. Although the measure was eventually revoked, experts believe the sector has yet to regain the markets it lost.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints