Iran is expected to increase its annual gold production to 10 tons by March 2021.
This has been stipulated in the country’s Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2016-2021), IRNA reported.
According to figures by the Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation Organization (IMIDRO), the country achieved 80 percent of the target by March 2019.
IMIDRO statistics show that 670,592 tons of gold ore were extracted from Iranian mines in the year to March 2007, from which 1,432 kilograms of gold were produced.
As of that year, the country’s gold production started a growing trend, having been, however, subject to periodic fluctuations due to problems stemming from, among other things, the closure of processing factories.
In the year to March 2014, Iran mined 1.66 million tons of gold ore, from which 4,196 kilograms of gold were produced.
IMIDRO puts Iran’s total gold reserves at 300 tons.
Earlier, the head of Iran's Mine House, Mohammadreza Bahraman, said close to 8.5 tons of gold were extracted from Iranian mines during the previous Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 19, 2020, according to yjc.ir.
He added that most of Iran’s gold reserves are located in small mines.
“Each mine creates at least 350 jobs,” Bahraman noted.
Zarshouran Gold Mine, located 35 kilometers from Takab, in the northwestern province of West Azarbaijan, is the biggest gold mine in the Middle East, containing 30 percent of Iran’s gold reserves. Initial estimates have put recoverable gold deposits in Zarshuran at 55 tons, which could rise to 110 tons by further drilling.
Currently, some 700 people are working in the mine.
Sari Gunay, another gold mine in the western city of Qorveh, is being tapped by a Kazakh miner under a seven-year contract. Sari Gunay, which means yellow sun in Turkish, is estimated to hold 18 tons of reserves.
In 2006, Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto pulled out of the Sari Gunay project in Iran’s Kurdestan after deciding it was not commercially viable.
Iran has identified as many as 15 mines so far, capable of yielding 320 tons of processed gold. The country’s gold mines are mostly concentrated in the northwestern provinces of West Azarbaijan and East Azarbaijan, with the former containing about 0.5 percent of the world’s minable gold reserves.
Iran is ranked as the world’s 54th gold producer; and investment in the country’s gold mines has been reflecting a growing trend during the past few years as global gold prices keep rising.