Iran is among the world’s top seven producers of gold and jewelry, but it has to work its way through the ranks to win a position as an exporter, the head of Tehran International Exhibition Center said.
Tehran is currently hosting Iran Gold Expo to introduce the country’s gold, silver, jewelry and precious stone products to the world and give local producers a chance to get up to date with global markets and value chains, Press TV wrote.
The head of Iran’s Gold and Jewelry Producers and Exporters Union Esfandiar Seifi said 130 companies from Iran, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Britain and Japan are participating in the exhibition held Feb. 12-15.
“In the field of gold and jewelry making, we are in a favorable position in the world and this exhibition can have a significant impact on the growth of exports,” he told IRNA.
He said Italy, Turkey, India, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand and Iran are the top gold and jewelry producers, but Iran is working to improve its position among the exporters.
Iran has stepped up production of precious metals to cushion its economy against the effects of new US sanctions which have triggered a flurry of panic buying of gold by some citizens.
According to officials, the country has revitalized small-scale gold and copper mines in the provinces of West and East Azarbaijan, Isfahan and South Khorasan.
The US decision in May 2018 to impose sanctions targeting Iran’s trade in gold and other precious metals sparked a 200-percent jump in demand for gold bars and coins, after which the national currency lost more than half of its value.
That year, Iran hanged the “sultan of coins” who had reportedly been caught with two tons of gold coins.
The country possesses an estimated 340 tons of gold deposits, along with huge quantities of zinc, copper and iron.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, there are three standard gold mines with proven reserves of more than 100 tons each. Twelve other sites have reserves either close to or much less than a standard mine.
However, officials believe many gold mines have not been discovered yet and with more exploration, total reserves of 1,000 tons are not unthinkable.
Small-scale mining sites hold the key to the quest. For instance, Mouteh mine in the central Isfahan Province operated with an annual production of 230 kilograms for years but it hit record 600 kilograms in 2017 after receiving throughput from several smaller mines in the province.
Takab in northwest Iran is the gold hub of Iran, where two of the country’s three biggest gold mines are located, including Zarshuran with 110 tons of reserves.