Iran Mining Industry
The mining industry is of significant importance to Iran as it provides resources of raw material for industrial production; resources that are required to improve the country’s infrastructure. The mining industry has the potential to play a key role in the country’s development.
The strategic extraction of commodities began in Iran about 60 years ago, and in the past mining has played a very prominent role in the economy. Globally, Iran is one of the most important mineral producers, and is ranked among the top 15 major mineral-rich countries, holding some 68 types of minerals, 37 billion tonnes of proven reserves and more than 57 billion tonnes of potential reserves worth an estimated $770 billion.
The most important mines in Iran are coal, metallic minerals, sand and gravel, chemical minerals and salt. Large deposits which mostly remain underdeveloped include zinc (world’s largest), copper, iron, uranium and lead . With roughly 1% of the world’s population, Iran holds more than 7% of the world’s total mineral reserves. The mines at Sarcheshmeh in Kerman province are estimated to contain the world’s second largest lode of copper ore. Deposits of lead, zinc and other minerals are widely scattered throughout the country.
Currently 90% of all mines are owned by the government and the state is actively looking to attract foreign investment to develop the mining sector. Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation, known as IMIDRO, is a major state-owned holding company active in the mining sector in Iran and in charge of the development of mining and mineral industries.
Key facts about Iran Mining
- Iran has more than 68 kinds of minerals, with total reserves estimated at 43 Billion MT, an estimated value of US$700 billion. Iran is rich in zinc and lead, with over 220 million tons of proven reserves. Production remains below 200,000 tons for zinc and lead, with just under half exported.
- There are approximately 5,000 mines in operation in Iran, with 12 metals and 36 non-metal ores currently being exploited.
- Iran is one of the top 10 global producers of iron ore, with over 35 million tons of output per year.
- Iran enjoys export links with Iraq, China, the UAE, India, and Afghanistan.
- Since IMIDRO’s establishment in 2001, it has developed and commissioned more than US$ 10 billion worth of projects related to upstream and downstream mining industries.