Discovery Of Lithium In Iran

Discovery Of Lithium In Iran


According to the semi-official Iranian state media outlet, Fars News Agency (FNA), the country has discovered a lithium deposit in the province of Hamedan. It was further reported upon by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), which noted that, despite the original claim of the FNA that the deposit holds around 8.5 million metric tons, the FNA has stretched numbers and claims before. However, the discovery is not surprising, as the Hamedan region is reportedly home to roughly 285 mines and known for being mineral rich.

The author speculates that due to the wording of the report and the relative information concerning the large number of mining operations there, it points to the lithium being discovered in other ores mined in the region. The other method of extraction, as suggested, involves the use of lithium carbonate-rich water or brine. There are few water sources in the region, and the further development of mining there leads experts to the conclusion that the lithium was likely discovered via other mineral deposits. It is important to make this distinction because lithium carbonate-rich water or brine can also be described as a deposit itself.

Some of the other ores mined in the region include granite, limestone, silica, lead, zinc, and iron. It has been reported that “precious gems” have also been mined, but there are no specific reports on what gems they might be. According to a report from the Tehran Times in 2022, some of the mining operations had been shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, and others were shut down due to the various sanctions.

Regardless of what form the lithium was discovered in, this is the first time Iran has discovered a deposit of the precious metal. Studies were done in 2014 showing that Lake Urmia, located in the northwest part of the country, had lithium carbonate-rich brine and could be used to produce lithium. However, Lake Urmia is known to be shrinking annually, making it an unlikely candidate for production. Some environmentalist activists have leveled claims against the Iranian government, stating that it is purposefully neglecting Lake Urmia in order to make lithium extraction a potential future endeavor, but the Iranian Parliament denied that claim in December 2022, stating that it was likely a rumor started by enemies of the state to sow discord amongst the various peoples who rely on the lake’s supply of water for agricultural uses.

With the discovery of this lithium deposit in Iran, the future of the country’s economy could begin to improve drastically, even despite the heavy Western sanctions. Russia and China would certainly pay top dollar for Iranian lithium in its raw form, but further still, if Iran were able to process the mineral and create batteries, it could see a much larger profit worldwide. Notable though, with the current sanctions, Iran would find it somewhat difficult to fully capitalize on this recent discovery. Regardless, the impact of the new deposit remains extremely significant and certainly may play to the advantage of the ostracized nation and its economy in the near future.

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