World News

Factbox - Iran's metals under new U.S. sanctions

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that new U.S. sanctions targeting revenue from the country’s exports of industrial metals were “against international norms”, and warned Washington would be responsible for Iran’s losses.

Iran exported over 57 million tonnes of mineral products worth more than $9.2 billion during the fiscal year to March, according to information on the website of Iran’s state-owned mines and metal holding company IMIDRO.

But analysts say the latest sanctions are unlikely to affect global markets.

“Years and years of sanctions and lack of investment means that Iran has not been able to fulfil its potential of being a major metals producer,” Saxo Bank commodities analyst Ole Hansen said. “There was barely any reaction in prices to the news.”

Iran’s mining industry was already “70 percent under sanctions in practice” due to shipping and payment restrictions, the deputy head of Iran’s Mine House, Mohammad Reza Bahraman was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA on Thursday.

Iran has about 37 billion tonnes of proven mineral reserves and 57 billion tonnes of potential reserves, worth $800 billion according to 2014 data from an article posted on IMIDRO’s website.

Below are details of Iran’s main minerals, based on data from IMIDRO:


Iran produced 35.1 million tonnes of iron ore in the fiscal year ended March 2019, and exports of iron ore concentrate totalled $380.95 million during the same period.

Iran is estimated to have around 2.7 billion tonnes of reserves. The Chadermalu, Golgohar and Sangan mines are considered the largest iron ore mines in the country.


In 2018 Iran was ranked tenth among global steel producers, according to World Steel Organization data, with output of 25 million tonnes.

It exported steel chain and steel products worth $4.118 billion in the fiscal year ended March 2019.


Iran has 250 tonnes (8.04 million ounces) of reserves and produces around 3 tonnes of gold annually.

In 2014, Iran launched the Zarshuran plant, which it billed as the biggest gold processing operation in the Middle East. Its exports of precious minerals, including gold and silver, were relatively insignificant however, totalling $160,000 in the year to March 2019.


Iran exported copper chain and downstream products worth $917.53 million in the year ended March 2019. It has 2.6 billion tonnes of reserves. One of its major mines is the Sarcheshmeh complex in the southeast Kerman province.


Iran sits behind China, Kazakhstan and India as the world’s number four producer of zinc ore. The country has 300 million tonnes of lead and zinc reserves but the sector is largely underdeveloped.

The Mehdiabad project, with one of the world’s biggest zinc deposits, has been under consideration since the 1990s. In 2017, the country signed a $1 billion deal with private investors to develop it.

Reporting By Maha El Dahan, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Jan Harvey