Precious and Semi-Precious Gems:
From the beginning of history, gems and jewelleries have always been considered by Iranian people. Turquoise was found in seven thousand years ago in Iran. Archeological excavations have found evidences that show the turquoise usage as an ornamental stone in the second millennium BC. In addition to Neyshabur turquoise mine, Kerman, Damghan, Zanjan, Farghaneh, Kharazm, and Ghaznein turquoise mines are some of the Iranian turquoise resources. Azure was popular during the Medes period where was imagined that it is from a mine close to the Damavand Mount, but no sign of this mineral has been found there. In Achaemenian era, azure was known as “Kabutkeh”. In the Sasanian period, azure’s consumption increases so that the roof of Ctesiphon arch and different statues were made of azure. Azure exists mostly in “Badakhshan” where was part of the Iranian territory at that time. Malachite, which is known as “Dehneh”, was much more familiar before the Achaemenid period in Iran. Assyrians’ writings mention that Iranian revived the malachite and produced copper. In Sasanian and Achaemenid periods utensils and ornaments were made of malachite. Persian physicians believed in the medical properties of jade for kidney disease treatment. Many researchers speculated on the Iranian origin of zircon mineral as beautiful zircon crystals have a yellow or golden yellow color which is called Zargoon in Persian language. Also in the historical documentations “Badakhshan” ruby mines were also mentioned.
Iranian Mines from Islam to Ghajar Era:
All mines where were active before Islam, gradually had benefitted after Islam. During the Abbasids period, government were controlling the mines and their income contributed a substantial amount of government’s revenue. In 340 AH, Coal mines of Yazd, Lorestan and Bariz in Iran as well as Zarafshan and Ghoor in Afghanistan were found and exploited. During the Seljuk period due to the previously mentioned sources, the beaux arts were followed in all its aspects and metalworkers created different stuff. In Safavids period, government directly involved in the mining and exploited minerals. In fact the Shah Abbas first began to actively participate in the mining operations. In Afsharieh period a steel factory in AmolMazandaran was producing bullets, cannon, horseshoes and ship’s anchor. Other documents also indicate the mass distribution of copper and tin mines in Khorasan during that period. In addition, due to the need of a significant amount of iron, ferrous metal operation is considered in that era. Mining operation was continued in the same form from Zandieh period until Qajar period.
Mines in the Ghajar Era:
In the Qajar era, mining took on a different form. During the Chancellery of MirzaTaghi Khan Amir Kabir, mining extraction was allowed for Iranians and it was tax-exempt for the first five years of exploitation. Following this command, mining exploration and investigation was shown a tremendous growth in Iran. Moreover, he founded the “Darolfonoon” and he invited number of foreign mining teachers and experts, five students after completing the mining course, were involved in mining exploration activities. Following the Naserdin Shah’s return from England in 1913, the mining situation in Iran was changed due to the mining grant to the Julius Reuters. Based on this grant, each company that owns a mine, required to sell the mine with a common property price to the company that it has met with the widespread protests and eventually was canceled. In 1919, Mokhberodoleh, minister of science, selected number of Iranian engineers and sent them across the country for mine investigation. This was noteworthy and it caused a boom in mining in Iran and subsequently in 1924 mines was rented by common people. In 1928, Imperial Bank of Iran gave all the mining concessions to an English company called “Bank of Iran Mines’ Concessions”.
Industries and Mines in New Age:
In 1933 due to the development of urbanization and the need for cement, steel and construction materials to build bridges, stations and railway roads, the first cement plant was established in the south of Tehran. Iran’s steel industry began in 1937 and the contract for a steel plant in Karaj was signed with a German consortium, but due to the beginning of World War II and entry prevention of equipment in to the country, the establishment stayed unfinished. National Iranian Steel Company was established in early 1961 to explore iron ore mines and equip them to work for the country’s steel needs. Exploration activities of this company led to the discovery of Choghart, Chadormalo, ChahGaz and Seechahoon mines. In 70’s decade, these activities were developed and led to the discovery of Golgohar mine.
Parallel to the growth of steel industry, coal mines exploration was developed as well. In 1965 an agreement between Iran and Soviet was signed to build an iron smelter and in 1973 the first iron ingots was casted. In 1989 the first steel cauldron was poured in the steel factory of Khuzestan. In late 1992, the decision was taken to build a steel mill in 1974 and Mobarakeh steel plant was constructed in Isfahan.