LONDON (Reuters) - Investors are being tempted by the mineral riches of Iran, which has opened for business after the lifting of sanctions as part of a nuclear deal.
The country has 68 different minerals with reserves totaling 43 billion tonnes worth an estimated $700 billion, according to Iran’s state-owned mines and metal holding company IMIDRO.
It has 7,000 mines, of which about 70 percent are operational, while mining sector employs more than 620,000 people.
Below are details of Iran’s main minerals, based on data from IMIDRO:
* Iron ore - Iran produced 34 million tonnes of iron ore in 2014 and has 2.7 billion tonnes of reserves. The Gol Gohar and the Chadormalu mines account for the bulk of output.
* Steel - Iran produced 14.9 million tonnes of crude steel in 2014 and aims to increase that to 52 million by 2025.
* Gold - Iran has 250 tonnes (8.04 million ounces) of reserves. In 2014, Iran launched the Zarshuran plant, which it billed as the biggest gold processing operation in the Middle East.
* Copper - Iran produced 194,000 tonnes of cathode copper in 2014 and aims to boost that to 800,000 tonnes by 2025. It has 2.6 billion tonnes of reserves. One of the major mines is the Sarcheshmeh complex in the southeast Kerman province.
* Zinc - Iran has 11 million tonnes of reserves. The Mehdiabad project, with one of the world’s biggest zinc deposits, has been under consideration since the 1990s.
Reporting by Eric Onstad; editing by David Stamp