Iran has identified more than 1,200 promising gold prospects, including a positive anomaly discovered recently in the Darreh Bidan of Yazd whose reserves have not been determined yet, a senior mining official has said.
“After tracing possible gold bearing zones in 21 provinces across the country, gold mines have been marked in 10 provinces,” deputy head of the Geology and Mineral Discoveries Organization Behrouz Borna said.
Iran’s proven gold reserves are currently estimated at 340 metric tons lying in 24 mines across the country. Fifteen mines are operational, with another mine being equipped and the remaining eight out of operation.
Borna put Iran’s annual gold output at three metric tons, saying it will get a significant boost when production from the Zarshuran mine in northwestern city of Takab begins.
Zarshuran, as the Middle East’s biggest gold deposit, will yield 6 metric tons of gold a year after the current expansion of the processing facility is complete by 2017.
Officials have said it will raise Iran’s overall gold output to 7 metric tons a year. The country, however, will open another gold mine with a capacity to produce 2 metric tons per year of the precious metal in Iran’s western Kurdestan province.
Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh says production from the Sari Gunay deposits near Qorveh with an ore concentration of 1.6 grams per metric ton will begin in the next three months.
Borna said Iran has the capacity to boost its gold production to 10 metric tons per year with further explorations.
He said gold is a top priority mineral for exploration. “Gold is primarily a strategic substance. Moreover, given the existence of at least 14 gold zones in the country, new discoveries of mines are possible.”
“The Geology and Mineral Discoveries Organization has discovered several gold zones and found reserves in the provinces which were never considered to have such deposits,” Borna said.
“Iran is among the world’s five biggest gold consumers which provides added motivation to discover more gold,” he added.