By Mahnaz Abdi

Exploration operation seriously pursued in mining sector

September 28, 2021 - 13:44

TEHRAN- Iran has 68 different types of minerals. The country’s proven iron ore reserves are 2.7 billion tons, and copper ores are 2.6 billion tons.

Iran also has 11 million tons of zinc. The total proven reserves of the country’s mines are estimated at about 60 billion tons, which is expected to reach more than 100 billion tons with the implementation of the country's first exploration priority in an area of 500,000 square kilometers. Therefore, the mining sector and mining industry is one of the most important and influential areas in the production and trade of the country.

Given the significance of mining sector in Iran, implementation of projects to develop different parts of this sector has been always a major program of the governments.

Achieving a 10.5-percent value added rise in the mining sector, and increasing mining exploration to two million meters from 510,000 meters is a top agenda of Iran’s new Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Reza Fatemi-Amin’s activity.

As a major state-owned holding company active in the mining sector in the country, Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) is playing a significant part in this regard, and in line with its development role, it is seriously pursuing the target of conducting two million meters of mining exploration by the next three years.

To this end, the organization has defined a number of programs including supporting the contractors active in the mining exploration operation, upgrading the geographical information system (GIS) database based on international standards, exploration of hidden and deep resources using new methods and training of required manpower.

Exploration and processing of rare minerals with special technologies, assistance in equipping and updating the drilling fleet with the help of Mining Investment Insurance Fund, planning to support and upgrade the scientific-technical level of exploration consultants, and conducting additional exploration operations in all existing mines for increasing the reserves tonnage are the other programs of IMIDRO in this due.

Involving the private sector in exploration activities is also an approach that the organization has included in exploration programs.

IMIDRO Head Vajihollah Jafari has stated that his organization is considering the financing for the import of exploration and drilling equipment by large companies, and this will accelerate the achievement of the goal of two-million meters of mining exploration.

Also in early June, an official with the organization had announced that IMIDRO is going to spend 10 trillion rials (about $238.1 million) for developing mining infrastructure across the country in the current Iranian calendar year (ends on March 20, 2022).

Jamshid Mollarahman had said: “This year we are mainly focusing on exploration operations; however, infrastructure is also a necessity for development of this sector.”

It is also worth mentioning that Geological Survey and Mineral Explorations of Iran (GSI) has carried out 16 percent more mining exploration in the county compared to the targets set for the Sixth National Development Plan (2016-2021), as announced by the GSI head.

Referring to the targeting of 425,000 square kilometers of exploration in the Sixth Development Plan, Alireza Shahidi has said: "The performance achieved is 16 percent ahead of the plan, which indicates good productivity as a result of centralized, scientific and resource-oriented decision-making.”

“Despite all the restrictions and limitation [created by the U.S. sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic], more than 490,000 square kilometers of exploration operations were carried out in this organization during the Sixth [National] Development Plan,” he stated.

Also, as previously announced by the IMIDRO head, considering the importance of exploration operation in the mining sector, IMIDRO will prepare a strategic five-year program for more focus on exploration activities.

Emphasizing that directing liquidity will accelerate the achievement of the goals of the mining sector, Jafari has said that a five-year strategic plan will be developed to focus more on the exploration sector.

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