Bitumen mines (Extraction of natural bitumen) in Iran in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces are located on an axis called Gilan Gharb to Avan Gharb. The definite reserve of bitumen in Iran is more than 15 million tons.
The amount of bitumen reserves in Iran on this route is estimated at at least 700,000 tons, which has been exploited and continued since the past years.
By processing bitumen, more than 50 types of products can be produced in the country.
Due to the existence of these mines, about 15%, ie 15 million tons of the world’s bitumen reserves are located in Iran and Iran has the third largest natural bitumen reserve in the world. During the last 10 years, ie from 2009 to 2018, Iran has been ranked sixth in the world with the production of 3.4% of bitumen and asphalt in the world. Iran, with a share of 6.8 percent of total bitumen and asphalt exports in Asia, is the fourth largest continent and with a share of 2.33 percent of total world exports, is ranked seventh in the world.
In general, bitumen mines are mostly found in oil-rich countries of the world, with the exception of Saudi Arabia.
Bitumen mining in Iran and the most important bitumen mines in terms of reserves are in the United States, Canada, Iran, Iraq, Russia, China, Australia, Mexico and the Philippines, respectively.
Global available bitumen reserves are estimated at about 100 million tons. In general, about 65% of the world’s total Gilsonite reserves are located in the Americas (North America) and Canada, and Iran, as the third largest bitumen reserves in the world, has about 15% or 15 million tons of these reserves.
Fortunately, Iran is one of the countries that have mines of this bitumen and its range starts from Yazd and to Gradually it fades and reaches the ideal level in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces, and gradually continues from Iranian Kurdistan to Iraqi Kurdistan, and finally its veins end in Turkey. Iran, with about one percent of the world’s population, has about seven percent of the world’s discovered mineral reserves, which indicates that it has a suitable platform for investment in this sector.
The identified bitumen reserves for the whole country are more than one million and 938 thousand tons.
The most important bitumen mines of Iran in the west of the country are located in three provinces of Kermanshah, Ilam and Lorestan in the cities of Kermanshah, Gilan Gharb, Somar, Ilam and east of Lorestan province.
Gilsonite mines have been discovered and exploited in Iran since 1993 after the Iran-Iraq war, which was known as coal in the early stages.
Kermanshah province is the first province in the country in terms of mineral reserves and production of natural bitumen, and among the famous bitumen mines of this province, we can mention Gilsonite Mad mine, the specifications of this mine are available on the site.
The United States ranks second with a fairly steady trend, slightly behind China, with a 17.5 percent share of world production.
Of course, the country suffered a sharp sharp decline in 2015, but since then it has resumed its previous trend. Russia had a steady production trend until 2014, but with a production of 20,358,000 tons in 2015, it suddenly jumped significantly and returned to the previous path. Bitumen mining in Iran, with a share of 3.4 percent of world production, is ranked sixth in the world, followed by Germany, South Korea, Turkey and Singapore.
Among Asian countries, China, Russia and India are in a better position than Iran in terms of bitumen and asphalt production.
Due to more production, they may be serious and dangerous competitors for Iran in terms of exports and as a result of capturing target markets, especially in the Asian continent and the West Asian region.
According to valid international statistics, total exports of bitumen and natural asphalt, bituminous or oil shales, bituminous sands and Asphaltite during the last 10 years (2018-2019) has been equal to 19002762 tons for the whole world and 6036254 tons for the Asian continent. In other words, Asia accounts for about one third (31.77 percent) of the world’s bitumen and asphalt exports.
The relative share of bitumen and asphalt exports of leading countries in the export of this mineral in Asia during the last 10 years (2018-2009) is shown in the figure.
During this 10-year period, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain led the way in Asia with 28.5%, 27.8% and 22% of bitumen and asphalt exports, respectively.
Iran also accounts for 6.8% of total Asian exports and ranks fourth in the continent. Malaysia, Singapore, India and Pakistan are next after Iran, respectively.
Although Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are not as large as Iran in terms of reserves and production of bitumen and asphalt, but with a good export situation, Iran is a serious competitor in capturing the target markets for exported bitumen and asphalt, especially They are in Asia and the West Asian region.
Although the recognition of bituminous mineral in the country dates back to about 21 years ago, but only 14 years have been exported this mineral.
According to the statistics of reputable domestic authorities such as the Iranian Customs Office, Ministry of Industry, Mines And Trade, Iran Mining House and Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, more than 90% of Iran’s bitumen is exported in raw form.
Despite the high value of this material, not much has been done in Iran in the field of powder processing, packaging and conversion into other products.
In other words, Iran is one of the countries producing Gilsonite with excellent quality and the lowest price in the world.
In the meantime, in order to be able to address the problems and issues of this product, the most important challenges and obstacles Production we mention:
1 – Lack of machinery and lack of financial resources
One of the main problems arising from international sanctions in the mining sector is related to the supply of machinery and equipment There has been a need to modernize them as well, as the costs associated with this sector and the use of new technologies increase the cost of the final product.
2- Inadequate conditions for selling bitumen
mines had good conditions until 1392, the price of products was economical and activity It made the mines economical, but with the passage of time and the recession in the country’s mines, the situation is now completely opposite.
The price of this mineral has been drastically reduced compared to the cost of extraction. The escalation of sanctions and the spread of the coronavirus have also caused further viruses.
3 – Local and legal problems of operation
The operators of these mines are facing various problems such as local opposition as well as legal problems Unfortunately, the whole investment process is in trouble.
4- Failure to allocate the necessary funds and not attracting technical staff to discover potentials
The location of most mines in deprived and impassable areas and the need to spend high costs on the roads are some of the obstacles that stand in the way of production of this product before production.
5 – Lack of adequate infrastructure and high costs of mineral transportation
Lack of proper infrastructure and infrastructure due to the mountainous nature of the region and the high cost of transporting materials Minerals are another reason to produce Gilsonite.