Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 19/ Trend G.Mehdi/
Companies from Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates have invested a total of $529 million in the exploitation of gold and construction of a gold ingot production plant in Iran's western Kordestan province, Iranian media reported.
The UAE Company has invested $29 million in the Sarigouni gold mine which holds one of the country's largest gold deposits.
The Kazakh Company has also invested $500 million as a joint venture with Iranian partners to build a gold ingot production plant in the vicinity of the mine, according to IRNA. It is estimated the mine would yield 18,500 kilogrammes of gold.
Iran is ranked among the 15 major mineral rich countries of the world and exports its industrial and mineral products to 159 countries, including Iraq, China, the United Arab Emirates, India and Afghanistan.
Iranian Industry, Mine and Trade Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari has said that Iran holds two per cent of the world's total mineral reserves. He added that the mineral reserves include 12 metal and 36 non-metal ores.
Some 5000 mines are being exploited in the country, he said, adding that around 340 million tons of minerals were extracted in the past year which ended on March 19.
In July, the Fars News Agency reported that some 120 tons of gold is held by Iranians at home.
The annual demand for gold is 300 tons in Iran, whilst domestic production is about 2.5 tons per year, showing a significant gap between supply and demand in the market.