A short history of Iranian mineral exports

By: Keyvan Jaafari Tehrani

Director of International Affairs of Iron Ore Manufacturers and Exporters

Iran’s export history of minerals (with the exception of ornamental stones) in bulk dates back to the late 1980s and early 1990s. When gypsum was exported from Bandar Abbas and a few years later, limestone, sand from Assaluyeh (before South Pars) and Kangan, as well as sand from Imam Khomeini, began. At first most of the shipments to the Persian Gulf region for gypsum destined for the UAE and Kuwait sand were carried out by barge with capacity of 2 to 6,000 tons, but gradually with increasing export volumes and the tendency of India to buy gypsum and Iranian limestone, ships with a capacity greater than 5,000 to 2,000 tons (Mini-Max, Hand-Max) were also used and gradually with the Shahid Rajaee Port Development Plan, bulk exports of minerals moved from Shahid Bahonar Port to Shahid Rajaee Port of Bandar Abbas. At the port of Imam Khomeini was also quay number 33 equipped with conveyor belts was used in sand export and later in clinker and white cement exports to the Gulf states, especially Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Mining export operations expanded in the late 1990s until dolomite exports began from Imam Khomeini’s port to India. However, due to the inability of Iranian exporters to compete, the exports of limestone, dolomite and then sand stopped. At that time, Ras al-Khaimah-UAE, as a major producer of these products, with the high operating and investment capability of the US company Steven Rock, regained the market and removed Iran from the export of these minerals. As for Assaluyeh, however the issue was different, with the start of construction and activities of the South Pars gas field and the issuance of an order to ban mining within 50 kilometers radius, resulted in the closure of the limestone mines in that area, which was easily competitive in quality with the Ras al-Khaimah products, which amounted to an annual export of 2 to 4 million tonnes from that region. In the early 2000s, Iran became increasingly recognized as an exporter of minerals throughout the Middle East and Asia, and exports of other minerals began, albeit with a lower tonnage, in Jambu Bag packaging and into containers, including feldspar sodium and potassium, fluorine. , Gilsonite (natural bitumen), kaolin, bentonite, barite, pozzolan and so on. It was just when the Palm Island Dubai construction began and the island contractors needed large quantities of sand, filters, and cores (larger than sand but with calcareous sand) and Armor (large limestone fragments for The docks were manufactured and mostly supplied by the Emirates themselves (Fujairah, Ajman and Ras al-Khaimah), and occasionally purchased these minerals from Iran.

A short history of Iranian mineral exports

Along with the Palme Island construction project in Dubai, Qatar was heavily involved in the construction and development of the North Gas Field. Given that very good gabbro stone mines with high hardness and low water absorption coefficient are found in Bandar Lengeh and Aftab port of Hormozgan province, some Iranian miners and merchants were keen on marketing and exporting Gabru sand to Qatar. Initial evidence indicated that Iranian sand gabbro could easily defeat UAE crops both in terms of quality (due to lower water absorption coefficient than limestone) and price (due to later distance closer to UAE), But unfortunately following Qatar’s restrictive policies on the purchase of Iranian mineral products, This export market was also lost. Demand for hematite iron ore for cement plants increased as construction activities in the Gulf states developed. Iron ore mines other than Saudi Arabia (but only to a limited extent) do not exist in other Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and generally at that time these countries supplied their iron ore needs from India. This was an opportunity for Iran to begin exporting iron ore to the UAE cement factories in the late 1990s, which was highly successful. However, in the first half of the year 2001, iron ore exports to the United Arab Emirates ceased due to the boom in iron ore exports to China.

At the same time in the early 2000s, China decided to increase its steel production capacity from 100 million tons to about 8 times over the next 10 to 15 years, due to the increased demand for ore by some miners (first the public sector and then private) With the support of some Iranian, Emirati, Indian and Chinese businessmen began exporting iron ore from Iran. Increasing the boom in the metal minerals market in China has also boosted the export of chromium from Iran, with the export process of these valuable minerals continuing more or less over the past 15 years. It was during this time that the Barco Steel Quay located in the Hormozgan Special Economic Zone, began exporting and exporting larger Panamax ships through the conveyor. Reviewing the above brief history, it goes without saying that the export process of Iranian mineral products over the past 27-28 years has always been accompanied by numerous ups and downs due to a lack of a clear strategy. Over the past 3 decades, with the cross-sectoral boom in the export of minerals to various countries, we have seen a significant number of private-sector miners and traders emotionally enter the market, and their presence has diminished after the economic boom, sometimes due to lack of the ability to compete with similar foreign products, and they were eliminated.

Along with all the other factors and reasons for the decline of market share or the elimination of some exports of mineral products, the ruining and destructive role of international sanctions should also be mentioned. Until the sanctions are fully lifted, banking operations with all the first-rate currencies in international trade (including the euro, US dollar, Japanese yen, Swiss franc, British pound and Chinese yuan) as well as top-tier currencies in international trade ( Including Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Swedish krone and Norwegian krone) do not run smoothly online with domestic banks, the impact of the decline in mineral exports will be evident. Along with international sanctions, it should also be mentioned the self-sanctioning operations, sometimes played with the support of the country’s mineral resources and lack of raw materials. We see in the second half of the decade what a severe blow to the export of decorative stones happened due to the ban on raw materials exported from Iran, so that after many years passed from the removal of this law the export process was still not restored and now about 40% The country’s ornamental stone mines are closed due to non-investment.

Strategy is not about being the best; it is about being unique.

Source: Donyaye-Eghtesad-Bulletin 

A short history of Iranian mineral exports

This article is translated from Farsi.

See Also:

List of Iran Mines and Minerals

error: Content is protected !!
WhatsApp chat