Tehran wants to revitalise gold and copper mines, according to local media. Iran Minerals Production and Supply Company was cited in the reports. The nation is undergoing a sudden surge in gold mining since crippling US sanctions were enforced.

Besides boosting mineral production and legalising some illegal mines, the Iranian government’s programme is aimed at “increasing employment, creating added value for local communities, and ultimately achieving the goals of a resilient economy”.

Mines established all over the country will help to realise the mining endeavours.

Key locations include central Isfahan province, the eastern South Khorasan province, East and the West Azerbaijan provinces.

The subsidiary of state-owned Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation (IMIDRO) said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with an industry group and a private company on developing artisanal mines, including six small-scale gold mines.

Iran boasts roughly seven percent of the world’s entire mineral resources, including 10 percent of oil and 16 percent of natural gas reserves, according to the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs.

Iran possesses an estimated 320 tonnes of gold deposits, along with huge quantities of zinc, copper and iron.

Demand for gold bars in Iran has sky-rocketed year-on-year, jumping by 200 percent – the highest level in more than four years, the World Gold Council (WGC) reports.

The WGC said the surge in demand for gold was in response to the first round of punitive US sanctions, which took aim at the Middle Eastern nation’s metals trading and automotive sector.

It said: “Iran’s weakening economy, growing sense of insecurity and a currency which has almost halved in value, boosted bar and coin demand.”

The second wave of US sanctions came into effect earlier this month.

The measures, which targeted Iran’s oil and finance sectors, were met with a fierce response with fiery rhetoric from Iranian military personnel.

Leading figures in the Iranian army hit out at the move from US President Donald Trump, vowing to react with impunity.

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari staged a blistering intervention while speaking in the Iranian city of Qazvin.

The Iranian military commander said: “The United States is a regime formed on the basis of capitalism, racial discrimination and hegemonism.

“Our hostility toward them will continue.”

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