The Iranian customs office (IRICA) says mining exports was so lucrative over the calendar year to late March that it beat government expectations and became a major source of earning hard currency for the country.
IRICA spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said on Thursday that mining had accounted for 27% of the value of Iran's entire non-oil exports over the year to March 20, 2022.
Latifi said Iran’s mining exports had increased by 73% in value terms over the past calendar year to reach a total of $12.291 billion.
He said the annual surge came as shipments had increased by only 5% in volume terms to 45.4 million metric tons (mt).
IRICA figures showed mining was responsible for 37% of the weight of Iran’s non-oil exports over the calendar year to late March.
Iran started to encourage increased activity in its mining and metals sector in 2018 after the country’s direct exports of crude oil came under American sanctions.
Increased mining exports have diversified Iran's income streams while enabling the country to boost economic growth and create more jobs for its youth population.
The surge in activity in Iran’s mining and metals sector has come despite the fact that the United States imposed severe sanctions on the country’s trade of metals in 2019.
Latest government figures show Iran holds around seven percent of the world’s mineral reserves at an estimated value of $770 billion.
A mining export milestone of around 122 million mt reported for Iran over the calendar year to late March came as the country’s total output of mining products reached around 617 million mt over the same period.