Iranian TV has reported that the country has opened the largest gold processing plant ever constructed in the Middle East, near the Zarshouran gold mine between the cities of Urmia and Zanjan.
The mine is expected to double the country’s production of precious metals with an estimated 3 tons of gold processed a year along with 2.5 tons of silver and 1 ton of mercury. The mine will reportedly take advantage of a unique, more efficient mining technology developed by Iran. Details of this new methodology are currently unknown.
Located in the Northwest Region of Iran, the facility will also be close to the Zareh Shuran gold mine, which holds a supposed 20 million tons of ore reserves.
The plans for the facility expansion (which include the initial investment of 834 billion rials and a further €15.2 million) include total expected yields of 110 tons, about 1/3 of the total calculated deposits for the entire country.
Project manager Hosseinqoli Qavanlou estimated that the project would create around 2,600 direct and indirect jobs for the country.
Iran currently ranks 42nd in annual gold production with 15 mines currently in operation. This year’s totals predicted to be around 10 tons.
Increasing domestic gold production is likely part of the country’s efforts to counter Western sanctions and support the value of the Iranian Rial. Some have also theorized that the country could be coordinating its gold production and purchases with Russia and China in what may be preparations for an extended economic war. All three countries are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a strategic alliance that also includes India and several other former Soviet-states.