Dangerous working conditions in Iran’s mines


The review of work accident news in the Iranian media shows that at least 41 people have lost their lives in work-related accidents during the March 2020 to May 1st, 2021, which means an average of nearly one death per day. The most important and biggest mineral disasters in Iran are related to the year 2017 with 78 deaths. On November 6, 2017explosion in the Zemestan Yurt mine in Golestan province, , was the most catastrophic, killing 43 people.According to field research in 2018, only in Iranian coal mines, 20 people lost their lives and 10 were injured as a result of mining accidents such as falls , explosions, debris and electric shocks. However, accurate statistics of the accidents in other mines have not been published, and researchs show that comprehensive information of mining accidents in Iran are not available. In Iran, more than 35% of labours have experienced a work-related accident.
In 2011, we had 44 death, in 2012, 43, in 2013, 59 , in 2014, 33, in 2015, 28, in 2016, 44, in 2017, 78, and in 2018, 36 death in mining accidents. In 2019, 45 people lost their lives in 31 mines due to gas exposure , suffocation, electrocution, Maine collapse and unsafe excavations. In the first 5 months of 2020, 20 miners in 13 mines lost their lives, according to the news of accidents leading to the death of miners recorded by news agency. In the last decade, more than 3,000 accidents occurred in the country’s mines, injuring about 13,000 workers and killing more than 430 miners.
Iran is one of the most important mineral producers in the world, ranked among 15 major mineral-rich countries, holding some 68 types of minerals, 37 billion tonnes of proven reserves and more than 57 billion tonnes of potential reserves. The most important mines in Iran include coal, metallic minerals, sand and gravel, chemical minerals and salt.
Other large deposits which mostly remain underdeveloped are zinc (world’s largest), copper (world’s ninth largest reserves) iron (world’s 12th largest),uranium (world’s tenth largest) and lead (world’s eleventh largest). Iran with roughly 1% of the world’s population holds more than 7% of the world’s total mineral reserves.
In 2019, the country was the 2nd largest world producer of gypsum; the 8th largest world producer of molybdenum, the world’s 8th largest producer of antimony, the 11th largest world producer of iron ore, the 18th largest world producer of sulphur, in addition to being the 21st largest worldwide producer of salt. It was the 13th largest producer in the world of uranium in 2018. 
In 2018, 4916 operating mines, with100000 workers run by private and public sectors respectively.
The massive transfer of mines to the private sector, which in various ways reduces production costs, has come at the cost workers’ lives.