(Sanandaj, Iran) The 7th ECO Minerals Experts Group Meeting was held on August 5-7, 2018 in the western Iranian city of Sanandaj, with the presence of representatives from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as the ECO Secretariat.
Speaking at the session, ECO Director for Energy, Minerals and Environment (EME), Fuad Farzalibeyov, while elaborating on ECO’s overall profile and policy priorities, emphasized on the need for pragmatic efforts for formulating regional policies within the region that are in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Member States’ need to accelerate collective efforts to address the challenges within the production and distribution chain of raw materials, and establish a solid transportation network for the trade of minerals, he added.
The Director of International Affairs for the Geological Survey of Iran (GIS), Seyed Hadi Mir Muhammad Meigouni, pointed out that the overarching goal of the Meeting is to exchange best practices and expertise among the Member States in order to adopt a fresh approach to key challenges and boost collaboration. He expressed satisfaction that through the collaboration of the GSI and the ECO Secretariat, three ECO Projects, namely, the Mineral Distribution Map (MDM) Project of the ECO Region, ECO Geosciences Database Project and the ECO Seismic Hazard Reduction Programme (ECO-SHARP) have been finalized.
Also present at the meeting was Director of the Industry, Mine and Trade Organization of the Kordestan Province of Islamic Republic of Iran, Muhammad Darevazmi, who discussed the overall potential of mineral reserves, the current status and future plans for the Province. He also elaborated on the investment opportunities and incentives within the area in minerals and geology.
During the course of the Meeting, Member States discussed national policies, activities, developments, programmes and opportunities for regional cooperation in the field of minerals, inter alia, minerals exploitation, production of data and maps, metallogenic zones, regulatory framework, investment opportunities in mineral sector, tectonic zones, best practices, recent developments, challenges and future roadmaps. Key proposals for future action were put forward on the initiation of lasting, self-sustainable and efficient networks of relevant stakeholders within the region and beyond.
The active intergovernmental and inter-sectoral collaboration for the development of ECO minerals policies and strategies within the framework of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals, and Sustainable Development (IGF), UNEP’s International Resource Panel (IRP) and other international forums was also defined as a crucial factor to boosting mining sector’s contribution to sustainable development within the ECO Region. The delegates also proposed the preparation of diagrammatic representations of the Region namely the Geodynamic and present-day Crustal Stress (ECO-GeoDyS) Map, the ECO-Environmental Quality Index (ECO-EQI) Map; the Mineral Deposit Types and Metallogenic Map and the Piroclast Map of mobile belt between Gondwana and Eurasia.
The Geological Survey of Iran (GIS) proposal on two new projects on the Landslide Hazard Zonation (LHZ) and the Geochemical Exploration of Precious and Industrial Minerals in Desert lands of the ECO Region was met with enthusiasm by the participants. Delegations were also given a guided tour of the Sarigooni Gold Mine in the city of Sanandaj and also visited the Angooran Lead and Zinc Mine in the northwestern province of Zanjan.