Iran identifies lithium reserves in northern province

As relations between Iran and the rest of the world take a step towards resolution, speculation is mounting about the country's mineral reserves.

Iran is home to vast reserves of lithium carbonate, according to a report published today in the Middle Eastern country’s national paper the Tehran Times.

Research carried out by the Geological Survey of Iran has found that the Namak Lake in the country’s northern Qom province harbours lithium reserves, the report said.

The Geological Survey found that each tonne of the brine sampled from the lake holds over 200 grams lithium. In the article, Geological Survey representative, Behrooz Borna, is quoted as saying that 40-50 grams/tonne is seen as economical worldwide.

In October 2014, newspaper Iran Daily reported that the Iranian defence minister, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan had inaugurated Iran’s first lithium battery factory. The report did not expand on where the lithium supply was coming from.

Iran’s oil, gas and mineral reserves have been the subject of speculation since the US brokered a nuclear deal with Iran earlier in April. Oil prices came under pressure as a result of the deal, as the market sold off in expectation that sanctions against Iran would lift and the country could participate once more as a global crude exporter.

Brent crude prices fell $2.15, or 3.8%, to $54.95/barrel at the time of Iran’s framework agreement with the US in early April.

More than 40 mineral commodities were mined and about 20 metals or mineral-related commodities were refined or manufactured in Iran in 2012, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The country was estimated to account for about 9% of the world’s output of gypsum and pumice; more than 2% of the world’s output of barite (barytes), feldspar, and sulphur; and more than 1% of the world’s output of cement, silica (or glass) sand, molybdenum and nitrogen, said the USGS.