- Mouteh gold complex in Isfahan Province produced more than 280 kilograms of gold in the Iranian calendar year 1393 (ended March 20), which indicates 18.6% output growth compared to the previous year, Mehr news agency reported on Saturday.
The Mouteh complex is owned by Iran Minerals Production and Supply Company (IMPASCO). The complex started extracting gold nearly 22 years ago and produces gold bars with 99.9% purity. Considering that some mines in the complex have already been depleted, development plans are currently being implemented to expand extractions.
Meanwhile, development plans are being implemented in other gold mines across the country. Plans to expand the Zarshooran gold mine in the northwestern province of West Azerbaijan aim at increasing annual production to at least 6 to 7 metric tons this year from 3 tons last year, according to Mehdi Karbasian, the head of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO).
“There are other potential gold reserves in the country and we expect to discover some huge reserves by exploring more than 200,000 square kilometers of the country’s soil”, Karbasian told Eghtesadnews.
More emphasis has been put on gold mines extraction as part of improving the mining sector since the current administration, led by president Hassan Rouhani, came to power in 2013.
Deputy head of the Geological Survey of Iran (GSI), Behrouz Borna believes Iran’s mining sector can catch up with the world by increasing its gold production capacity. In a recent statement, he said more than 50 locations with potential reserves have been identified in West Azarbaijan Province, estimated to have at least 150 tons of gold reserves, IRNA reported.
Borna also referred to the slow progress in Sari Gunni gold mine in Kurdistan Province, and expressed hope that a final comprehensive nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of UN Security Council plus Germany) would pave the way for entry of modern mining equipment and participation of reliable foreign companies in Iran’s mining projects.
The giant Anglo-Australian mining company, Rio Tinto pulled out of the Sari Gunay in 2006 after stating that the project was not commercially viable. This is while the multinational company had earlier estimated that the mine could produce 4 million tons of gold ore per year.
Experts believe Rio Tinto’s decision was related to the sanctions – imposed against Iran by the West over its nuclear program.
Iranian mining officials believe the lifting of sanctions could prepare the ground for foreign firms to invest in mining projects, which will ultimately lead to a more prosperous economy.