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Is America Missing This Upcoming Mining Hotspot?

I've talked before about the significant mining potential of one of the world's pariah states--Iran.

And news last week suggests that big investors are starting to catch on. At least from certain parts of the world.

Specifically, Asian mining firms appear to be circling Iran, looking for new opportunities in the minerals sector. With a major delegation from the East touring the country to look at potential projects. Related: India May Become World’s Largest Coal Importer

Local press reports that a group of Asian mining professionals is currently in Iran--looking to "go ahead with investment" in the mining sector. With these observers being hosted by the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization.

The group includes investors from China, Indonesia and the Philippines. Who are reportedly looking at opportunities including iron ore, coal, nickel and aluminum.

All told, Iranian officials estimated that these groups might be contemplating an initial investment on the order of $400 million.

Although that's not a huge amount of money, it would represent a substantial foothold in Iran for these groups. From which Asian mining firms could likely build toward greater levels of investment and operation in the country--especially considering that foreign activity in the mining sector here is currently at a very low level.

If such a situation were to unfold, it would give these nations a notable advantage over Western mining firms. Who are currently shut out of Iran to a large degree, due to political sanctions against the country. Related: New Chinese Coal Import Tax Spells Disaster For Australian Miners

The relatively small scale of sectors like coal and nickel probably doesn't hold great concern for Western companies. But other commodities--especially base metals like copper--certainly offer world-class mining opportunities. As evidenced by deposits along the Urumieh-Dokhtar magmatic belt such as Sar Cheshmeh, which hosts a gigantic resource of 1.2 billion tonnes grading 0.7% copper.

Those sorts of deposits aren't found in many "virgin" terrains around the world today. Meaning that allowing Asia to take the lead in mining here could mean missing a unique opportunity.

Here's to first movers,
Dave Forest

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