In terms of variety and amount of mineral reserves, Iran regarded as one of the leading countries in the world. Iran produces only 1.1 million tons of coal per year while it has 1.15 billion tons of proven reserves. This means Iran is missing out on a huge potential of job, wealth and energy creation.
The Iranian coal industry, long underutilized despite its massive potential, is capable of driving the mining sector, boost energy production and create the sorely needed jobs envisioned in the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2017-22).
Coal is divided into two categories based on consumption market: coking coal mainly used in steel chain and thermal coal chiefly used in coal power plants.
Large players such as Russia and the United States are increasingly investing in coal, while enjoying huge reserves of oil and gas. This is while Iran, hamstrung by its overdependence on oil, has missed out on diversifying its energy sources.
Iran’s coal boosting plan
Due to the presence of high oil reserves in Iran, thermal coal mines are not taken into account properly. Although some private-sector manufacturers export the extracted thermal coal to the target markets such as Turkey and Eastern European countries, coal market is generally not very thriving in Iran and the main reasons lie in the quality of domestic coal and its monopolistic market.
On the other hand, producing chemicals such as methanol downstream (MTP, Propylene, DME,…) and Urea are recommended for optimal utilization of coal resources.
As the statistics shows, coal industry in Iran asks for innovation and technology. Thus, post-sanctions opportunities should be used to attract investors and technology companies. ICPDC demonstrate a feasible method in mining sector to help economic growth and unemployment dropping as well as gaining profit.