Iran will seek bids for 15 mining projects for international investors to develop, with production of zinc to gold and iron ore seen getting a boost with the end of sanctions.
President Hassan Rouhani plans to visit France and Italy in November to sign development agreements on some of the projects, according to Mehdi Karbasian, deputy minister of Iran’s Ministry of Industries, Mines & Trade, said in an interview in Tehran. Tenders to develop the 15 projects should be issued within the next four months, with the first one proposed in October to build the Neekouyeh gold mine west of Tehran, he said.
Iran’s gold production is forecast to triple from 2013 to 10,000 kilograms (321,507 troy ounces) by next year, with iron ore, steel, chromite, aluminum , bauxite, copper and zinc output also growing, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The country reached a deal with international powers in July to ease sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, and the rapprochement will pave the way for expanded access for overseas companies.
“We will not put any restrictions on the participation of international companies interested in Iran’s mining industry,” Karbasian said. “Interested parties can come forward for 100 percent ownership or enter into joint partnerships with us or do so with a local or international company of their choice.”
In the Middle East and North Africa, Iran and Morocco are the major miners of metals, according to Mowafa Taib, USGS’s lead minerals analyst for the region.
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