Iran to develop small-scale gold mines

Reference image. Dried Saffron flower stigmas, or red gold, and pyrite mineral from Muteh gold mine, Iran. Photo by Safa Daneshvar, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Iran Minerals Production and Supply Company, a subsidiary of state-owned Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization, announced through the country’s public broadcaster that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with industry group Iran Mine House and a private company with the idea of developing six small-scale gold and copper mines.

With this deal, the Hassan Rouhani government is kickstarting a program for the revitalization, activation, and development of artisanal mines. The operations are located in almost every corner of the country, from the eastern South Khorasan province to the central Isfahan province, the northwestern West Azerbaijan province and the northern East Azarbaijan province.

Besides growing mineral production and bringing some illegal mines to legality, authorities say the plan is also aimed at increasing employment, creating added value for local communities, and building a more resilient economy.

According to the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Iran hosts about 7% of the world’s mineral resource, including 10% of proven oil and 16% of natural gas resources. When it comes to gold, the Persian nation’s total reserves are estimated in 320 tonnes.

The country also has massive zinc, copper and iron deposits.