By Mahnaz Abdi

Some major challenges in Iran’s mining sector

May 25, 2022 - 11:31

TEHRAN- Having 81 different types of minerals, Iran is one of the top 10 mineral-rich countries across the globe. In this regard, the Iranian government is pursuing several programs for promoting the mining sector as a major contributor to the country’s economic growth.

But despite these programs, this sector is facing several challenges.

According to a report released in the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20) by the Research Center of the parliament, the challenges of the mining sector are 44 percent related to laws and the lack of a long and clear mining strategy, 33 percent are related to mismanagement and problems of miners, 13 percent to environmental and natural resources problems, and 10 percent are related to international problems.

Measures such as correct and principled management changes, approval of mining strategy, elimination of inconsistencies with upstream laws, and removing some legal interferences will solve about 75 percent of the above-mentioned challenges.

The status of job creation in this sector and many labor problems is among the other challenges of mining sector.

Adherence to the necessary standards in the field of wages and determining the legal and fair conditions of wages will solve this challenge.

Environmental and natural resources problems related to the mines is one the most important inter-sectoral challenges of mining sector.

Reviewing existing laws and implementing measures to protect the environment and natural resources in accordance with scientific principles and international experience is the solution to this part of the challenges.

The export of raw minerals, instead of processing them and selling the final product, is another challenge.

Stopping the rent-seeking in terms of raw minerals export, while establishing modern and up-to-date processing units can help solve this problem.

Insufficient attention to the use of new technologies in exploration, extraction, processing and exploitation of mineral resources is the other challenge.

Applying nanotechnology and biotechnology, as well as robotics and artificial intelligence, and being up-to-date to increase productivity of the mines, especially with regard to the strategic approach to the development of knowledge-based economy, can alleviate the mentioned challenge.

Weakness in exploitation activities is a real challenge faced by the mining sector; to remove it, it is necessary to increase investment, change structures, and seriously strengthen the geological survey to conduct systematic exploitation in all areas in order to discover new mineral reserves.

Lack of machinery is also a major challenge in the mining sector.

A board member of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) has said: “At present, due to the shortage of these machines, purchase prices have skyrocketed and, in addition, their rents have become very expensive. At these prices, it is not profitable for small and medium-sized mines to rent machinery and become active. Finally, the miner has the mine and the raw material, but it is not economical due to the expensive operation of the machinery”.

Removing all the above-mentioned challenges, in addition to some other problems and limitations, can lead to the development of mining sector, which can play a noticeable part in economic development of the country.

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