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USGS Publication on Iran’s Nonfuel Minerals Industry Released

The USGS released a publication highlighting the nonfuel minerals industry of Iran. 

Illustrated map of Iran showing various mining sites and refining/smelting plants of nonfuel minerals.

RESTON, VA – A U.S. Geological Survey publication detailing Iran’s nonfuel minerals industry, encompassing industrial minerals and metals, was released today. This publication provides information on Iran’s mineral resources, reserves, current production, planned extraction and processing projects that could potentially impact Iran’s mineral output levels through 2025.

The goal of the report is to provide the U.S. Government, the minerals industry, and the broader public the most recent and accurate information concerning Iran’s nonfuel mineral resources that could have an impact on regional and global mineral commodity supplies.

The catalyst for researching and publishing the report was the recent removal of secondary sanctions that were previously imposed on Iran by the United States and the international community. The lifting of these sanctions took place January 16, 2016, also known as “Implementation Day.” Prior to that day, sanctions prohibited foreign investment or trade in Iran’s mineral industry, including both hydrocarbons and nonfuel mineral commodities.

While primary sanctions are in effect and prohibit American businesses and citizens from engaging with Iran’s mineral industry, the lifting of secondary sanctions opens Iran’s economy to foreign investors. With secondary sanctions lifted, Iran’s nonfuel minerals industry now has the ability to seek out foreign capital for mineral development, which plays into one of the key findings from the report. 

The report highlights efforts by the Iranian government to expand nonfuel mineral production in order to diversify its economy and reduce reliance on petroleum production as the main source of government and export revenue.

The report also notes that the Iranian government’s output goals for about a dozen mineral commodities are significantly higher than current production levels. These mineral commodities include alumina, aluminum, bauxite, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, steel, and zinc. Iran would have to more than double current mineral production during the next decade in order to meet these higher target levels.

For more information on Iran’s nonfuel minerals industry, click here for the full report.

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