Several Vantages but Lacking Strategy

With huge assets of minerals and hydrocarbon reserves as well as educated, specialized and expert manpower, there must be no hindrance in achieving development in mining sector; however, the main barrier is lack of planning and organization. The most important transformation required is to fundamentally revolutionize and orient our vision.


A Strategic Mining Development Policy, as a profound Government decree, can provide the framework for such revolutionizing vision and can play the pivotal role in guiding the path of future progress.
Strategic thinking implies prioritization and sequencing, seeking to do first that which is necessary or helpful to achieve later goals. A strategy begins by defining a clear objective, and then assesses constraints that prevent the achievement of this objective. Strategic thinking looks at alternative pathways that get around those constraints; if this is not possible, it requires the redirection of energies to other goals that are more realistically achievable. As an example, the Strategic Mining Development can determine which one of the 68 different mineral deposits has priority to be developed.
Under the current circumstances, the most important questions facing the mining sector of the country are regarding the economic value and importance of metallic and non-metallic mineral deposits and their competitive advantages in the regional and global markets.
Relevant and transcendent statistics can constitute a firm basis for long-term planning and capital investment. Transparently clear strategy can act as a lighthouse that helps the sea captain navigate a ship in oceans. The navigation of the country’s economy must be in hands of the private sector that needs transparent regulations and transcendent statistical information. In other words, the initial step for strategic planning is producing suitable high-quality, and carrying out suitable quality research would come next. The more transparent and more detailed the strategy, the more oriented and the less risky the investment.
This holds true for both domestic and foreign investments, and accordingly the confidence and propensity of the investors to invest greater capital in longer-term projects is gradually built. Lack of mining strategy will lead to irregularities, vacillations and case-to-case decision-makings, which in turn will endanger long-term investments in the sector.
In spite of having many outstanding advantages, absence of a strong, transparent and long-term vision about the future of mining sector has resulted in the inability of this infrastructural sector to find its rightful position in the macro-economy of country. Therefore, it can be deduced that the lack of strategy is the most important weakness of policy-making system of the mining sector of the country that has brought about a large technological gap between the Iranian mining sector and the rest of the world.
The opportunities and benefits of the world market that are available for promotion of Iranian mining sector is not the same for all mineral commodities and products. For example, our unique capacities of Iran in the field of the dimension stones is a winning card in the highly competitive global markets. Copper is another outstanding instance among the mining advantages. Absorption of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in various stages of exploration, exploitation and processing of rich copper mines of the country can turn Iran into the largest producer and exporter of high added-value manufactured copper goods, especially, since Iran is the only country in Asia that has over half a century experience in copper exploration and extraction (at Sarcheshmeh Copper Mine). Nonetheless, despite the possibility of establishing a large and diverse copper industry and heavy investments, copper mining industry has been limited to production and export of copper concentrate and is facing great challenges.
The fact that regardless of huge assets of minerals and hydrocarbon reserves as well as educated, specialized and expert manpower, the mining sector of the country does not show any signs of growth is a point to ponder. And it can only be resolved through constant exchange of views between the Government and private sector mining organizations and academia.
Mining Development Strategy is a viewpoint; it is not an administrative procedure written solely by a Government department to be observed and followed by the mining sector. The core of strategy is the focused deliberations on the present and future needs of the mining society, and thus, any strategy must mainly concentrate on establishment of intellectual and physical foundations in various fields of industry, mining and trade.
Mining can be turned into the most outstanding advantage of our economy. Its value will be revealed through a transparent development strategy which throws light on the path of growth. We need to change our perspectives and direct our gazes differently.


Mohammad Reza Bahraman
Iran Mine House President