Around 6 million tpy of iron ore could be added to the run-of-mine output from Iran’s Gol-e-Gohar mines with the addition of two new ore bodies, according to a recent interview published by the Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation Organisation (Imidro).
“The two mines [bodies Nos.2 and 4] will have an output of at least 6 million tpy of iron ore when we complete our preparations,” project administrator Saeed Samadi told Imidro.
The preparations include stripping back the overburden. Around half of this has been removed from the No.2 ore body in the past few years, Samadi added. It will reach its design output once the overburden is fully removed, which is expected to be achieved in the fourth quarter of 2013, he said.
“It will take us about three years to reach the main deposit of iron ore in body No.4 as iron ore makes up one-eighth of the material, and we started mining operations two years later than at body No.2,” Samadi explained.
“We exploited about 2.8 million tonnes of run-of-mine iron ore in total [from ore bodies Nos.2 and 4] in [the Iranian year] 1390,” he said. This corresponds to March 20, 2011, to March 19, 2012, in the current Western calendar.
“We removed about 33 million tonnes of burden in the past year [finished March 19], which is ten times more volume than the exploited iron ore,” he added.
Ore bodies Nos.2 and 4 are owned by the government and are being exploited by Iran Minerals Production & Supply, an Imidro subsidiary. They contain more than 150 million tonnes of resource and are among the richest iron ore mines in Iran, Imidro said.
The Iranian government is planning to set up beneficiation plants adjacent to these mines at some point in the future.
The Gol-e-Gohar mines have six ore bodies. Exploitation of ore body No.1, which has a mineable deposit of around 180 million tonnes, was started in 1993 by Gol-e-Gohar Iron Ore.
Ore body No.6 has more than 600 million tonnes of resource, but the deposit is 100 metres underground so overburden removal is a lengthy process. Gohar Zamin Iron Ore is responsible for exploiting this asset.
The mines are 55km south-west of Sirjan in Kermand province, in southern Iran. They are connected by a 330km railway to the port of Bandar Abbas, which facilitates exports and transport to steel mills on the coast.