Coal Reserves in Iran
Iran, in terms of diversity and the amount of mineral reserves, is
among top mineral countries of the world. One of these reserves is
Coal is one of the oldest sources of energy supply. At their time, countries
that had access to coal resources enjoyed high decision-making power in the
industry and development. The purity of coal and depth of the mineral in
those mines have been considered as one of their advantages and are still
very important. The warming trend of the Planet Earth has diverted many
countries, factories and production industries towards nuclear fuel or other
hybrid energies but official statistics show that use of coal is still
placed among materials top on the table of resources supplying energy in the
world. Cheap price of coal has added to the demand by the markets of the
emerging economies and taking advantage of clean fuels has been confined to
the topic of different sessions by political leaders.
Using coal still constitutes 65 to 70 percent of the energy supply resources
in India, China and the vast Southeast Asian countries, even it is predicted
that due to the deep financial downturn in Europe and the United States,
countries involved in the crisis have not much interest in making investment
in the field of clean energies development and are extensively continuing
import of coal.
Based on a report released by the IEA (International Energy Agency), coal
consumption in the world will be almost doubled by 2030. On the basis of
projections, coal consumption in OECD countries (countries outside the group
of developed nations), will be increased by 81 percent. The share of coal
out of the total energy consumption in the world will be increased to 27
percent by that date. According to the report, the global consumption of
coal in that year, with almost two-fold increase would reach 6.1 billion
Up to 2020, China will have the first say in this market but it
is predicted that from 2020 onwards, Russia will take a
significant share of the Chinese market.
China, Australia, US, Russia, India and South Africa are the main players in
the coal market. Up to 2020, China will have the first say in this market
but it is predicted that from 2020 onwards, Russia will take a significant
share of the Chinese market.
The growing trend of coal price in the past year continued to the point that
it was doubled and in the beginning of 2017 it is continuing its growth.
Chinaís trade performance in 2016 is indicative of the growth of imported
commodities and this is good news for the mineral market. China in 2016
imported over 255.5 million tons of coal which shows an increase of 25.5%
over the year before. In other words, the Chinese import 8.1 tons of coal
per second which is separate from their domestic production.
Iran, in terms of diversity and the amount of mineral reserves, is among top
mineral countries of the world. One of these reserves is coal. Iranís coal
is divided into two groups in terms of consumption market. 1) Coke coal
which is mainly consumed in the steel chain and 2) thermal coal which is
mostly consumed in coal power plants.
The coke coal mainly supplies the demand of steel making factories with long
furnace method and Isfahan Steel Mill is almost its sole customer. Of
course, the MIDCO holding in a near future will join the club.
Other mines that can be found in Iran are oil and gas mines. These mines are
so rich and economical that for their exploration, extraction, processing
and selling an independent ministry called the Ministry of Petroleum has
been established. The abundance of this valuable mineral material has caused
the thermal coal mines in Iran to lose value. Therefore, use of thermal coal
energy has no place in Iran. Some of the private sector producers export the
extracted thermal coal. It is mainly exported to Turkey and East Europe.
As a whole, the coal market in Iran is not brisk and its main reason is due
to the quality of domestic coal and its exclusive market. However, long-term
forecasts indicate that coal would be reconsidered as a source of energy.
For optimum use of the coal resources, some suggestions that had previously
been raised at the world level are being discussed again. One of these
suggestions is the use of coal power plants in coal rich region in Iran,
especially in the east and northeast parts of the country which have less
access to energy resources such as natural gas. Those who offer the
proposals believe that instead of transfer of gas to these regions, the
substitute energy can be used and the anticipated gas can be exported.
Some other experts propose underground coal gasification (UCG) and
production of methane gas by using oxygen injection method into the charcoal
reserves, which is under study; yet some others consider transfer of coal to
liquids (CTL). There are those who recommend development and improvement of
the current methods and refer to the consumption of coal in thermal power
plants and in the coal industry. However, the upstream organizations should
simultaneously examine all the economic methods of coal.
On the basis of primary studies, the comprehensive coal plan which is being
prepared by IMIDRO (Iranian Mines and Mining Development and Renovation
Organization) and would be soon published, the general status of the
scatterdness of coal mines in the country, coal washing and coke making
workshops are as follows. Of course, there are small and scattered mines in
other parts of the country that can be ignored and in case of need for the
study and survey of coal mines, it is better not to be considered.
Global Coal Production Divided by Region
Major Coal Consuming Countries
China, Australia, US, Russia, India and South Africa are the
main players in the coal market.
In Azarbaijan area there are 13 mines, in Gilan 2 mines, in East Alborz 64
mines and 3 coal washing factories, in Central Alborz 57 mines, 2 coal
washing and one coke making factories, in Golestan 20 mines, in North
Khorasan 1 mine, in Tehran 2 mines, in Tabas 33 mines, 5 coal washing and
one coke making factories, in Kerman 25 mines, 4 coal washing and 3 coke
The current coal production methods in Iran are mostly traditional and based
on the variety of its methods are as follows:
The traditional long labor front about 41% Ė the stepped down about 38% -
digging and filling about 11% - outdoor about 4% - room and basics about 2%
- upward stepped about 2% - mechanized long labor front about 1% and short
labor front about 1%.
These statistics show that Iranís coal industry is in need of innovation and
upgraded technology and the opportunity provided in the post-sanctions era
should be used for the attraction of investor institutes and top technology
At present Iranís coal production capacity is around 4.1 million tons.
However, the potential capacity is suggested to be about 2.7 million tons.
In 1394 (2015/2016) a total of 1.47 million tons of coal was produced in the
country which, compared to the same period the year before (1.43) shows a
slight growth. Predictions for production in 1395 (2016/2017) are a little
more than 1.5 million tons with the upward trend of the previous year
Over the past 18 months, the world price of coal had a good growth, but due
to some issues such as domestic supply and demand and the quality of
domestic coal, the price growth had no significant impact on Iranís coal
economy. Of course, coal mines in Iran, should pave the way for coal export
and try to compensate for the problem of monopoly in the domestic market
In the past year, 1.4% of the $4.4 billion imports in the mining and mineral
industries sector went to coal and coke. In fact, the Isfahan Steel Mill
imported almost half of its two million ton need for coal. In return, 1% of
the $7 billion export in Iranís mine and mineral industries sector went to
coal and coke, most of which was thermal coal.
Iranís coal reserves are more than 1.1 billion tons. If Iran is divided into
four main coal-rich areas, the total coal reserves of the country will be as
1) Coal-rich Tabas region with 866523 thousand tons
2) Coal-rich Central Alborz region with 133999 thousand tons
3) Coal-rich Kerman region with 93840 thousand tons
4) Coal-rich East Alborz region with 34676 thousand tons
5) Other coal-rich regions with 3685 thousand tons
The coal supply chain in Iran ends up to Zarand coke making in Kerman and
Isfahan Steel Mill and this is the main problem in the economy of coal
mines. Because, due to some kind of monopoly in the purchasing market as
well as the poor economic situation of the exclusive purchaser, financial
problems have bothered coal companies. In a simple way, this cycle in
various sectors is as follows.
In the first category, Pabdana, Hashouni, Hamkaar, Khomroud and Assadabad
mines transfer their products (gaseous) to the Pabdana group. In the second
category, Bab Nizoo, Hajdak, Eshkeli, Darbid Khoon, Darreh Gaz and
Sarapardeh mines transfer their products (coke) to the Bab Nizoo group and
then the two groups send the products to the coal washing factory. The
product has the potential to be sent to Isfahan Steel Mill and Zarand coke
Eastern Alborz Mines
In Shahroud region, Tazreh, Kolriz and Razmja mines Ė and in Golestan
region, the winter mines of Yurt, Takht, Razi, Malach Aram and Joozchal send
their products to Mehmandoost coal washing factory. In continuation, the
product chain can be ceded to Zarand coke making and Isfahan Steel Mill.
Parvadeh Companyís coal mines include Parvadeh 1 and the Central Mine as
well as special mines of the Parvadeh region including Negin, Madanjoo and
Arvin Novin mines which send their products to the coal washing of Parvadeh
1. This chain also ends up in Isfahan Steel Mill and Zarand coke making.
Central Alborz Mines
In the Central Alborz region, Kaar Mozd, Kiasar, Karsang and Goliran mines
send their products to the Central Alborz coal washing factory and the chain
finally ends up in Isfahan Steel Mill and Zarand coke making.
The total number of active mines in the country in 1394 (2015/2016) was 7087
of which 197 or 1.68% were coal mines.
Based on the prospect of the countryís steel and the steel comprehensive
plan, in case of realization of 55 million tons of steel, the share of
production in long kiln method will be about 6 million tons. With the
assumption of the amount of coke consumption at a norm of 550 km for each
ton of cast iron in long kiln and 22 kg for each ton of steel in EAF method,
we need 6.2 million tons of concentrated coal.
Coke production capacity in the event of implementation of development
projects will be 4.3 million tons. The amount of coke needed, based on the
figures in the 1404 (2025) Vision Plan, is 4.3 million tons. The required
amount of the concentrates in the Vision Plan has been estimated at 6.2
million tons, but in case of implementation of development plans for
production of coal concentrate, we will manage to produce only 4.6 million
tons of coal concentrate. Therefore, we will have a shortage of about 1.6
million tons of coal concentrate.
Based on the forecasts for the production of coal concentrates in the
country in the 1404 Vision Plan, the coal-rich Kerman regions will have 1300
thousand tons, Tabas coal-rich region 2500 thousand tons, East Alborz
coal-rich region 450 thousand tons and Central Alborz coal-rich region 350
thousand tons of concentrates. On the basis of the comprehensive steel and
coal plan in the Vision Plan 1404 in the Tabas region about 4 million tons,
Kerman region about 2 million tons, the Central Alborz region about 560
thousand tons and Eastern Alborz region about 720 thousand tons and in total
about 7.3 million tons of crude coal will be produced.
For the supply of coal transferred to coke, the first priority will be Tabas
with over 324 million tons of extractable reserves.
And in the case of the opening of coal power plants in the country, up to
the Vision Plan 1404 in total we will need 8.6 million tons of thermal coal
With the above-mentioned calculations and the quality of Iranís reserves,
import of 15 to 20 percent of high quality coal concentrate should be
included on the agenda. Therefore, for the power plant purposes and the
steel comprehensive plan, Iranís coal industry is in need of sound
implementation of development plans and definition of new projects. Iran
should advance coal mines to mechanized methods and take advantage of modern
technologies in line with increasing the quality of produced coal.
With regard to the growing world prices of coal and the amount of Iranís
reserves as well as relative advantage of mine possessing in Iran, such as
proper wages, skilled mining manpower, access to international waters,
domestic and regional needs for this mineral substance, government support
for investment in the coal sector and other supports for foreign investors,
Iran enjoys appropriate conditions for investors in the field of coal.
For presence in the coal mines of Iran, you can contact the Mining
Management Department at the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development
and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) or Iran Mineral Production and Supply