Natural bitumen mines are a significant natural resource in Iran. Iran is home to some of the largest and oldest natural bitumen mines in the world. These mines are located in different parts of Iran, including Lut Desert, Zagros Mountains and the southern region of the Caspian Sea.
Natural bitumen, also known as asphalt or bitumen, is a black or brown substance that is found in nature and is used in various industrial and construction applications. Natural bitumen has been used in Iran for thousands of years. .
Ancient Iranians used it to waterproof their buildings and also to pave roads. The oldest natural bitumen mine in Iran is located in Lut desert and it is said that it dates back to the 7th millennium BC. This mine was discovered in the 1340s by an Iranian geologist named Reza Khosrow Shahi.
Iran’s natural bitumen mines are located in the west of the country in the three provinces of Kermanshah, Ilam and Lorestan, in the cities of Kermanshah, Gilangharb, Somar, Ilam and east of Lorestan province. Gilsonite mines have been opened and exploited since 1372 in Iran after the Iran-Iraq war, which were known as coal in the early stages.
Kermanshah province is the first province of the country in terms of the amount of mineral reserves and bitumen production, and among the famous natural bitumen mines of Iran in this province, we can mention Gilsonite Mad mine in Gilangreb city.
The existence of areas such as Shek Maidan, Naftshahr, and Cham Imam Hassan, etc., all indicate the existence of known sources of mineral bitumen from the distant past in Kermanshah province, Gilangreb city.
Kermanshah province is the first and Ilam is the second province of the country in terms of the amount of mineral reserves and natural bitumen production, and Gilangreb city also has the largest amount of natural bitumen reserves in the province. The most important bitumen mines of Kermanshah province, such as Mad bitumen mine, are located in Gilangreb.
Lut desert is one of the largest natural bitumen mines in Iran. This desert has an area of more than 166,000 square kilometers and is located in the southeast of Iran. It is believed that the natural bitumen in the Lut desert is formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals that lived in this area millions of years ago.
Natural bitumen is extracted from open pit mines in the desert and then processed to remove impurities and make it suitable for various industrial and construction applications.
Zagros mountain range is another important area of natural bitumen extraction in Iran. These mountains are located in the west of Iran and contain natural bitumen that has been used for thousands of years.
It is believed that the natural bitumen in the Zagros Mountains is formed from the remains of marine creatures that lived in the area millions of years ago. Natural bitumen is extracted from underground mines in the mountains and then processed to remove impurities.
In addition to the Lut desert and the Zagros mountain range, the southern region of the Caspian Sea is also one of the natural bitumen mining areas in Iran. It is believed that the natural bitumen in this area was created from the remains of ancient plants and animals that lived in this area millions of years ago. Natural bitumen is extracted from open pit mines in the region and then processed to remove impurities.
The amount of mineral bitumen and petroleum bitumen production in the world
In the figure below, the amount of bitumen and natural and artificial asphalt production in refineries of the 10 largest producing countries in the world during the years 2008 to 2016 is drawn.
According to this chart, during these years, China ranks first with an upward integrated production trend and 19.3% of the world’s bitumen and asphalt production, and it is expected that this upward trend will continue in the coming years.
The United States of America ranks second with an almost constant trend and with a small difference to China with a share of 17.5% of world production. Of course, this country experienced a sharp drop in 2015, but after that it resumed its previous trend.
Russia has had a stable production trend until 2014, but with the production of 20358 thousand tons in the 2015 season, it suddenly made a significant jump and returned to the previous path.
Our country Iran also ranks sixth in the world with a share of 3.4% of the world’s total production, followed by Germany, South Korea, Turkey and Singapore.
Among the Asian countries, China, Russia and India have a better situation than Iran in terms of bitumen and asphalt production, which due to higher production, it is possible to increase the amount of exports and as a result take over the target markets, especially in the Asian continent and the West Asian region. to be serious and dangerous competitors for Iran.
Natural bitumen has many industrial and construction applications. It is used as an adhesive in asphalt and concrete, as a waterproofing agent and as a sealant in construction. It is also used in the production of roofing materials, automotive products and adhesives.
Natural bitumen is also used in the production of asphalt emulsions, which are used in the construction and maintenance of roads.
Iran is one of the largest producers of natural bitumen in the world. The country produces more than 1.5 million tons of natural bitumen annually, which is used both domestically and internationally. Iran exports natural bitumen to countries such as India, China and Turkey.