Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mehdi Karbasian says investment in the mining sector needs massive finances which cannot be provided through domestic resources or the private sector.
In a Farsi interview with Khabar Online, he touched upon the mines sector’s share of the national budget for the current Iranian year (beginning March 21, 2017).
“Several decisions have been made in the mines sector, but given the guidelines by the Leader [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] regarding the [development of a] resilient economy and not selling raw materials, I expected the Parliament to have paid more attention to the issue. We expected the parliament to lend its support to the Mines Insurance Fund,” said the official.
However, he said, in one or two cases the mines sector has, fortunately, been mentioned in the national spending package.
On the situation of the mines sector in the year ahead, he said, “Given the emphasis put on having a resilient economy, I hope the bottlenecks and problems in the mines sector will be tackled; but in the mines and mineral industries sector, the biggest challenge is absorbing financial resources.”
“Our prediction is that we will take in $50bn, so that we will be able to take a giant leap in the mines and minerals industries sector,” he said.
“In this regard, foreign policy officials, who did invaluable work in the JCPOA domain, will pursue international engagement with a vengeance, so that we will be able to absorb $50bn in finances,” said the official.
He said attention should be paid to absorbing foreign investment as domestic resources are limited.
Karbasian noted that most banks do not have enough resources as institutions in different sectors are lining up to receive loans.
“On the other hand, arrears to banks amount to hundreds of billions of rials. Banks do not have sufficient capital and need to inflate their assets.”
He said astronomical amounts of funds are required in the mines and mineral industries sector, and added the finances cannot be provided from domestic resources or the private sector.
“The National Development Fund is not able to make such a huge investment, either,” he added.
“So, one of the most important ways of absorbing funds is to take in foreign resources. Fortunately, the government has adopted good measures in this respect.”
He expressed hope that good news will be announced this year regarding the discovery of new mineral resources, and added he is confident that efforts will be made to pursue the projects already underway to create more jobs.