The project was launched in the Jang-e Sar region in Khoy in the northwestern province of West Azarbaijan on Thursday, following the discovery of radioactive materials and rare-earth elements there.
Mohammad Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told at the launch ceremony that the complex can play a “significant role” in accelerating the country’s plan for nuclear electricity generation.
“The capacity of this mining complex is so [great] that undoubtedly it will be a hub for supplying the raw material for nuclear fuel production, and it will play a significant role in supporting the plan to produce 20,000 megawatts of nuclear electricity,” he said.
According to reports, uranium, molybdenum, and a number of other rare-earth elements have been discovered in the area.
Eslami said the region can also be a huge source of rare-earth elements, which have various industrial applications.
Pointing to the use of airborne geophysical surveys in discovering the potential mines, the official said the discovery operations in the region began last year.
The official said the project would be completed within two and a half years, and that the first phase of the project needs around 10 trillion rials (roughly $20 million) to be completed.
Iran now runs a nuclear power plant in the southern province of Bushehr, which produces 1,000 megawatts per year.
It plans to build more nuclear power plants to boost its nuclear electricity production capacity to 20,000 megawatts, as part of efforts to meet growing electricity demand.
The plan allows the country to free more of its oil and gas resources for export and ease environmental concerns over its massive fossil fuel power plant network.
Meanwhile, legislation adopted by the Iranian parliament requires the AEOI to increase Iran’s nuclear electricity generation capacity to respond to growing demand in the country that has already passed peaks of 73 GW this summer.
In recent years, Iran has made significant strides in its pursuit of a peaceful nuclear energy program, despite facing challenges posed by US sanctions and Western-imposed obstacles.
Iran has maintained a close and cooperative relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This collaboration underscores Iran’s commitment to adhering to international regulations and guidelines governing nuclear activities.