BY: Ebrahim Fallahi

Share of mining sector in Iran’s non-oil trade getting bigger

September 25, 2020 - 14:31

TEHRAN – In line with Iran’s major plans for distancing the country’s economy from oil and moving toward a resilient, oil-free economy, the mining sector has become one of the major areas of focus in recent years, since the country is one of the world’s top 10 mineral-rich countries where 68 types of minerals have been identified so far, including the world’s largest deposits of copper, zinc, and iron.

Expansion and exploitation of these huge sources of income have become a top priority for the government in recent years, and various programs have been defined for the improvement of this industry.

Reviving idle small mines, increasing the tariffs on the exports of some raw minerals, defining new exploration projects, signing memorandums of understanding with domestic and foreign manufacturers for the renovation of the country’s mining equipment and machinery, and allocation of funds for the completion of semi-finished projects in this sector can be mentioned as some of the programs introduced by the government for the development of the country’s mining sector.

As the government body in charge of the affairs in the mentioned sector, the Industry, Mining, and Trade Ministry has provisioned operational targets in the mining sector’s three major areas of exploration, extraction, and processing in the current year to further increase the share of this industry in the country’s non-oil trade basket.

The ministry has targeted a 25 percent increase in the production of mineral products, and it also plans to add about 20 percent to the previous reserves by implementing new exploration operations.

The ministry has defined 16 development projects only in the steel sector to boost the output of steel products by 17.3 million tons in five years, according to the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO).

All and all, a lot has been done over the past few years and positive steps have been taken for the development of the country’s mining industry.

These efforts seem to have been paying off, so that in the first five months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20-August 21), despite all the limitations created by the outbreak of the coronavirus, the minerals and mining industry accounted for about nine percent of the country’s total non-oil exports.

Based on the Industry, Mining, and Trade Ministry data, the country’s total non-oil exports stood at $24.6 billion in the mentioned period, of which $2.176 billion was the share of the minerals and mining industry.

Since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year, the global markets have been hit by the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and global trade has declined significantly compared to the previous years. This makes developments in the mining sector even more significant.

The Industry Ministry data show that in the first five months of this year, more than three million tons of steel chain products worth more than $1.118 billion were exported to target markets, the exports of aluminum products and aluminum ingots has even increased by 44 percent compared to the previous year.

The continuing of these constructive measures taken in this industry will ensure a sustained source of income for the country in the future and will pave the way for a smoother transition from an oil-dependent economy to the targeted oil-free one.

Supporting this industry in their efforts for reviving idle small mines and development of the already active mines will encourage more activity in this sector and accelerates its growth rate.

EF/MA

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