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Iran to grant license to private foreign firms for gold digs

Tehran, Sept 11, IRNA-Deputy Head of Iran Geological and Exploration Organization for Exploration Affairs said Iran is to issue license to private foreign companies interested in digging for gold in an area in Kurdestan province, an industry trade group 'Iran Mining House' reported here Saturday.

It quoted Nasser Abedian as saying that a project to explore for gold in the area which consists of British company 'Rio-Tinto' with 70 percent and Iran Exploration Service Organization with 30 percent of stake has faced some snags.

He added that the problems with issuance of licenses for the venture are not political and are due to technical difficulties.

He added that all over the world exploration and mining are carried out within national laws and many multinational companies are involved in mining and processing of gold in various countries.

Lack of company's familiarity with Iranian laws has led to problems in issuing gold license which stems primarily from ways of estimating the quality and level of proven reserves.

"These issues differ in every country," Abedian added.

Iran only produces about 0.3 percent of the total word gold production, which put it at 51th on the list of gold producing countries, the Iran Mining House said.

"Currently four gold mines are operating in the country with 188,000 tons of production annually, it said.

The report also added that Iran's reserves are about 13.4 million tons of gold-stones and about 300 tons of proven and potential pure gold reserves.

Iran's proven mineral reserves have been estimated at 27 billion tons and there are 3,800 mines throughout the country, Iran Mining House said.

Iran is one of the world's richest countries in terms of mineral reserves. It has over 3,000 mines in operation employing some 70,000 people.

More than 142 million tons of minerals was extracted during March 2003-2004, when the country earned some 900 million dollars from mineral exports.

Private companies conduct 90 percent of the explorations in the mining sector. This is while the state sector exploits the mines and earns the added value. Iran's total mineral deposits are estimated at 53 billion tons.

... Payvand News - 9/11/05 ... --

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