- The ministry of industry, mine and trade is targeting to increase mineral extractions to 450 million metric tons in the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), IRNA reported.
Based on the statistics provided by the industry ministry, 370 million tons of minerals were in the Iranian year 1391 (ended March 20, 2013), while the figure increased to 420 million tons the following year before it decreased to 400 million tons last year.
If the administration manages to increase extraction to 450 million tons this year, the figure will indicate a 20% rise in the course of three years.Reviving Inactive Mines
A top priority for the administration to achieve the goal is to revive as many as 2,200 inactive mines, which account for almost a third of the mines in the production cycle across the country. Currently, 5,400 mines are active in Iran.
Following vast exploration operations carried out last year, the proven mineral reserves in the country grew to 43 billion tons with 68 different minerals, which has enabled the country to be among the 15 major mineral-rich countries worldwide. With roughly 1% of the world's population, Iran holds more than 7% of the world's total mineral reserves.
Between 55% and 60% of the extracted minerals are construction materials while the rest are metallic and non-metallic minerals. The administration plans to increase the extraction of both metallic minerals and construction materials while special plans have been formulated to increase the value added for both through processing the minerals.Lower Than Expected
Based on the Fifth 5-Year Economic Development Plan, the mining sector is supposed to produce 570 million tons of minerals within the current Iranian year (to end March 19, 2016) while the prediction by the industry ministry is 120 million tons less than expectations mainly due to western sanctions over Iran's nuclear energy program, which were tightened during the past three years. Nonetheless, according to the deputy industry minister, Ja'far Sarqini, the mining sector was affected less than other sectors by the sanctions.
According to official figures, the mining sector's share in GDP was 0.7% in 2007 while it was 1.2% during the first three quarters of the past Iranian year.Development Plans
The industry ministry has formulated 13 major plans to develop the mining sector including systematic expansion of exploration operations, granting exploitation concessions to private sector firms, aggregating mineral reserves in every province, and accomplishing the so-called 'cadastre systems' for mines.
The mining sector officials are also seeking to revise the procedure to technically and financially qualify the mining investors and allocate mine royalties to development of mining infrastructures. Completing the production chain and minimizing sales of unprocessed minerals, boosting safety standards in mines, and modernizing the coal mines are also on the agenda.