Iran’s gold output is estimated to rise to 7 metric tons by 2017 which could significantly improve the country’s place among the world’s producers of the precious metal.
Zarshuran, the Middle East’s biggest gold deposit, will yield 6 million metric tons alone, with another 700 kg coming from mines in East Azarbaijan Province and 300 km from Arghash in Nayshabour.
Production from Zarshuran in the Iranian city of Takab in West Azarbaijan began in November 2014 with the inauguration of a facility capable of processing 3 metric tons of gold on top of 2.5 tons of silver and one ton of mercury per year.
According to the Mehr news agency, the plant is undergoing expansion which will double output by 2017. Initial estimates have put recoverable gold deposits in Zarshuran at 55 metric tons, which could rise to 110 tons by further drilling in the anomalies.
Last year, Iran’s gold production surpassed 4.1 metric tons.
Another gold deposit in Takab, named Aq Darreh, yielded 2.2 metric tons of gold a year before production stopped in 2011.
In 2006, Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto pulled out of the Sari Gunay gold mining project in Iran’s Kurdestan after deciding it was not commercially viable.
The company had initially estimated to produce 4 million metric tons of ore per year from the mine over 12 to 18 years before concluding that the reserves were too small to continue with the project.
Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade has identified as many as 15 mines so far, capable of yielding 320 metric tons of processed gold.
The provinces of West and East Azarbaijan, as well as Isfahan and Razavi Khorasan hold the country’s biggest reserves for production of gold.