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HomeIran News NowIran Economy NewsIrony-a-la Iran: Impoverished Baluchis Reside Near Resource-Rich Kahnuj Titanium Mine

Irony-a-la Iran: Impoverished Baluchis Reside Near Resource-Rich Kahnuj Titanium Mine

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Recently, Iran’s state media announced the reopening and increased activity of the Kahnuj titanium mine in Kerman province, located in the southeast of the country.

Local reports state that the Kahnuj titanium mine is among the world’s largest, boasting a proven reserve of 150 million tons. While this news hasn’t been officially confirmed by the government, it’s not uncommon for profitable ventures to go unreported by the regime.

The Kahnuj titanium mine and factory are set to resume operations in the next two months after a 25-year hiatus. The employer of the Kahnuj titanium project has reported 94% progress in the project, noting that the exploitation will yield 70,000 tons of slag and 50,000 tons of pigment.

Situated in the Baluch areas of Rudbar Zamin, south of Kerman, the titanium mine holds significant potential for economic growth and job creation in the region. The estimated ore reserves stand at 42 million tons, with 2.2 million tons of ilmenite.

In the past, the southern cities of Kerman province have suffered from a lack of investment in infrastructure, leading to ongoing poverty and unemployment. Despite the economic challenges, the region boasts extensive copper, chrome, magnesium, and chromite mines. However, these resources have yet to be fully utilized to transform the area into an economic center.

Local discontent is evident, with protests from the people of Kahnuj demanding control over the mines. They argue that these resources, capable of generating employment for the local population, are being handed over to non-native companies instead. The community insists on taking charge of the mines themselves to create job opportunities.

The regime handed this mine to the so-called private sector. Under the mullahs’ regime in Iran, the concept of a “private sector” is misleading. Despite claims that the private sector benefits from economic plans, the reality is quite different. In truth, the so-called private sector is merely an extension of the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Controlled or highly influenced by the IRGC and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s “private sector” serves the interests of these powerful entities. Hence, the state is the primary beneficiary of any privatization initiatives.

In a revealing article published on July 31, 2017, the state-run Sharq daily exposed the facade of Iran’s purported private sector. It highlighted how the supposed goal of empowering the people through Article 44 policies had been subverted. Instead of genuine privatization, control of the economy had simply shifted from one government entity to another, from a government without arms to one with the might of the IRGC. This manipulation of power, coupled with control over media and other resources, effectively stifled any semblance of competition.

The Kahnuj titanium mine stands as a concealed reservoir of wealth in the southern reaches of Kerman province, holding the potential to alleviate poverty and deprivation in the region. Yet, under the rule of the mullahs’ regime, these riches are frequently exploited to manipulate the demographic landscape of Kerman as well as Sistan and Baluchestan Province and to pillage the land’s resources.

Currently, job opportunities are scarce in these areas, with the Iranian regime showing little interest in employment creation. Without production and industrial mechanisms, the deprived southeastern regions of Iran lack sustainable economic activity. Empowering the local population to exploit their resources could provide alternatives to risky and precarious occupations, particularly for Baluch youth.