Iran is rich not only in oil and gas, but in mineral deposits, as well. Iran has the world’s largest zinc reserves and second largest reserves of copper. It also has important reserves of iron, uranium, lead, chromite, manganese, coal and gold. To date, however, the mining industry remains underdeveloped.
Developing its mineral resources is a priority for the Iranian government. The government is actively encouraging foreign participation in this sector.
Opportunities are abundant for firms who can offer equipment, know-how or investment. Foreign companies are already active in virtually every aspect of mineral production in Iran- from surveying to conducting feasibility studies to providing equipment for smelters. The second five-year development plan of Iran encourage buy-back deal but also calls for other forms of investment in this sector.
The ministry of Industries and Mines is the decision maker in this sector. It operates through a number of national companies, including those responsible for steel, copper, exploration and smelting.
However, this industry is also undertaking a series of national effort for privatization. According to statistics published in 2014, by that time, the share of private ownership in mining section of economy has reached to more than 98%.