0525 GMT April 25, 2018
Mehdi Karbasian, who also heads Iran's Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) added that although exports in the steel sector were expected to amount to eight million tons in this period, the figure stood at 9.5 million tons, which has high value added, IRNA reported.
He listed the sector's new export destinations as Canada, Mexico and Central Asian countries.
The deputy minister said in the 12-month period to March 20, 2018, Iran exported 740,000 tons of sponge iron and 18 million tons of concentrates.
He noted that in the same period, projects worth close to $2 billion were inaugurated by the organization and its affiliated companies.
Karbasian added that in the year to mid-March 2018, the domestic mining sector recorded growths of 18 percent, 22 percent, 14 percent, 20 percent, 6 percent and 2 percent in the production of concentrates, iron pellet, sponge iron, steel billet, copper concentrate and alumina powder respectively.
Commenting on accomplishments in the field of exploration, he said the sector identified more than 180 square kilometers of new mining areas, the development and exploitation of which are about to be handed over to the private sector.
Karbasian noted that by March 2018, new gold, iron ore, coal and bauxite reserves were discovered in Iran, adding Iran's bauxite production capacity is currently twice as high as the figure for two years ago.
He said close to $6 billion worth of new mining and mining industries projects are expected to be inaugurated in the year to mid-March 2019 among which are steel, pellet, concentrate and aluminum production plans.
Iran has more than 10,000 mines, of which 60,000 are operating and the rest are either inactive or being equipped.
Iran's mines 400 million tons of minerals annually, of which 60 percent are construction materials.
During March 2017-January 2018, Iran exported more than 53.3 million tons of minerals and mining industries products valued at $7.5 billion.