For some people, the Middle East seems synonymous with the world-famous petroleum products that have been used extensively for many decades. However, kaolin, such as kaolin in Iran, is also quite a renowned industrial mineral that has seen wide uses across the world. Thanks to the large number of kaolin deposits in the Middle East, kaolin has been exported in droves for the past few decades.
The Deposits in Iran
Currently, Iran occupies the 16th spot as the largest kaolin producer country in the world, with a total of 350,000 metric tons annually. Alongside the United Arab Emirates, this position is one of the highest kaolin-producer countries in the world.
Kaolin (and kaolinite) mines in Iran can be discovered in the following regions.
- Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province (Dopolan deposit)
- East Azerbaijan Province (Miardan deposit, Sungun mine)
- Isfahan Province (Chāle Ghār mines, Chag Bagh mine, Kali Kafi mine)
- Kerman Province (Meiduk mine, Darreh Zar mine, Sar Cheshmeh mine)
- Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province (Mombi deposit)
- Lorestan Province (Farsesh deposit)
- Markazi Province (North Narbaghi Cu-Ag deposit, Nezam Abad prospect)
- West Azerbaijan Province (Kharapeh deposit, Agh-Darreh mine, Arabshah deposit, Zareh Shuhan mine)
- Yazd Province (Ali-Abad Cu deposit, Angouran mine, Chomalu deposit)
All of these locations have contributed greatly to Iran’s overall kaolin production activities and its subsequent export activities abroad.
Kaolin-Related Industrial Sectors
Due to the significant amount of deposits of kaolin in Iran, sectors related to kaolin production have been developed to a notable degree. The following sectors have relied greatly on kaolin in Iran to help develop their businesses.
1. Tile and Ceramic
Tile and ceramic companies in Iran have relied on kaolin as one of their primary materials for their products. Iran’s mountainous regions have supplied kaolin and other materials for producing tile and ceramic due to the high demand for daily use.
Useful for improving the brightness of certain colors, kaolin is used by Iranian companies for their paint products. This works great as the coating relies on kaolin to make it stabilized.
The national production of paper has used kaolin to give the papers a certain smoothness and brightness for professional use. The high demand for paper in Iran gave way to the extensive use of kaolin for production use.
Kaolin in Iran has been used to improve the structural integrity of cement, which makes it popular for cement production. Companies such as Khorasan Kaolin Co., Iran Kaolin and Barite Co., and many others have used kaolin extensively to improve their products.
5. Sanitary Wares
Sanitary wares such as bathtubs, washbasins, toilets, and many others have used kaolin to improve their performance and quality. In this regard, the aforementioned companies have participated in producing sanitary wares that greatly relied on kaolin to make them more glossy-looking and long-lasting.
In 2020 alone, Iran managed to export kaolin and other kaolinite clays with a total worth of $1.8 million, which in turn made the country the 32nd largest kaolin exporter country in the world during that year.
For that year, the following countries were the primary destination of kaolin exports from Iran, such as the United Arab Emirates (59.6%), India (35.1%), Turkey (2.27%), Kuwait (1.73%), and Pakistan (0.99%), as well as other countries (0.22%).
The export of kaolin to the United Arab Emirates is especially important. The country is currently occupying the spot as one of the most extensive kaolin consumers in the Middle East alone due to its relative lack of kaolin deposits.
In 2020, Iran also imported raw kaolin clays and products with a total worth of $4.82 million, which was used extensively for national industrial sectors.
In this regard, the primary countries of origin of the imported kaolin were the Czech Republic (60.6%), Uzbekistan (19.7%), China (7.53%), India (4.18%), Portugal (4.15%), Spain (2.2%), and other countries.
The important statistics above have proven how kaolin has become an important commodity in Iran for export and import purposes. With a robust internal industry, the kaolin in Iran will see more extensive uses and shipment to other countries to sustain Iran’s economy.
Despite undergoing several setbacks in the year 2020-2021, kaolin in Iran has seen another rise in business prospects starting by 2021. This opportunity should not be missed by Yukami, one of Indonesia’s leading kaolin production companies with a proven business record for the past 30 years.