Iraq is a rich country in mineral resources, which governments did not bother extracting and then exploiting them for the benefit of citizens, while focusing on crude oil since the exploration of the year 1927.
Among the important neglected wealth is. which is the most important fossil material in the world, the natural gas and associated gas that the US oil companies confirmed its presence in huge quantities, in the desert of Ramadi in Anbar province, which is the richest in the field of mineral wealth, as well as the Kurdistan region, with a good quantities in the provinces of (Nineveh, Najaf Ashraf, Wasit and Muthanna).
According to the US energy report, Iraq is ranked tenth in the world in terms of proven reserves of associated natural gas and single gas , and the interest of the Iraqi Ministry of oil started with this wealth , where its gas reserves are estimated by 137 trillion cubic feet, most of it is the associated gas of crude oil, and plans of the ministry confirmed by its minister Jabbar Laibi, the optimal investment of associated gas resulting from the refining and oil production and invest it in an optimal manner .
In the light of Iraq’s tendency to open areas of investment and achieve economic start and industrial technological revival and achieve greater production and investment and create job opportunities, an abundant raw materials of all kinds and in most of the provinces because of the availability of the huge reserves of raw materials, mineral ores and raw materials are the main nerve in the industry being to control largely to the country’s economy and trade, its material needs and the development of its civilization.
Oil Minister Jabbar Laibi plans on the basis of scientific studies, that Iraq reaches the stage of stopping the import of gas and exporting surplus quantities. He pointed out that, there are power stations rely on dry gas, and that the ministry aspires to activate the petrochemical industry, which relies on dry gas.
The deputy Minister of Finance Abdul Razzaq al-Essa stressed , the World Bank announcement in the spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington, its readiness to support the investment of associated gas in Iraq, with a grant worth $ 9 million, also stressed that the Iraqi government will intensify the work of the joint committee between the ministries of finance, electricity and oil to activate investment of associated gas and benefiting from it to the operation of the projects of electric power .
In a related context , the spokesman of the ministry of oil Assem Jihad said : The Iraqi Oil Ministry has ambitious plans in terms of investment of associated gas , and it has achieved a great deal of achievement in terms of investment of associated gas for the processes of refining , where invested quantities are growing steadily, stressing that the Iraqi oil minister Jabbar Allaibi plans to invest dry gas in the next two years.
Jihad said that the Ministry of Oil has two primary objectives within their strategic plans, namely, achieving self – sufficiency in gas, and the export of dry gas, adding that Iraq started exporting condensate and liquid gas, while still in need of dry gas, and invest it heavily.
In the same context Laibi opened three projects that contribute to reduce the burning of associated gas in the fields of Bazargan and Abu Ghraib and Fakkah within the oil fields of the Maysan Oil Company.
A senior deputy of the Ministry Fayyad Hassan Nima said , that these projects are the real start of the investment of associated gas in the province of Maysan and the importance of these projects , which opened in the provision of new quantities of gas to supply power plants as well as reducing environmental pollution, and that the ministry began in the fields of Bazerkan and Fakah , and to expand to the oil fields in the province which is one of the most promising provinces in the production of gas .
experts on the oil issue see that Iraq does not yet have a comprehensive study of its infrastructure, and that the production of gas needs an integrated strategy system bringing gas from fields in Iraq from north to south, and dealing with amino acids, sulfur, carbon dioxide and water, and if it has been processed then It can be pumped to the main pipelines that bring gas from all of Iraq, but the problem is that the pipes do not exist, and there are only a few parts of them .
The history of the gas industry in Iraq on a commercial level dates back to the 1927, but despite the possession of a huge wealth of natural associated gas with the production of crude oil and free gas in terms of the large volume of proven and potential reserves, but the production of marketed natural gas does not correspond to the total production of natural gas and does not correspond with a huge reserves Iraq possess as well as a decline in the level of the gas industry in Iraq and the low ability to convert natural gas to gas products that enhance the added value of this industry and the momentum of other industries and sectors.
Iraq is currently investing limited amounts of associated gas in a number of oil fields in Basra province, according to the system of contracts with foreign companies.
If we shed light on the contents of Anbar province from the wealth that tempted of the occupation, terrorism and gangs in all its forms, it is one of the largest Iraqi provinces, and constitute the equivalent of one – third of the country ‘s territory, an area of 138.500 square kilometers, and the population of more than 1.9 million people’
And it is bordered from the north governorates Salahuddin and Nineveh, and from the north – west Syria, and from the West is Jordan, and from the east province of Baghdad, and from the south Saudi Arabia, and the south – eastern governorates of Karbala and Najaf.
It is divided administratively into eight regions: districts al-Qaim , and Anah, and Rawah, Hadetha, Hitt , Ramadi, and Fallujah and Rutba, and the most prominent cities are Ramadi , Fallujah , Qaim , Haditha , al – Baghdadi, and Kabisa.
Characterized by semi-desert climate and lack of rainfall where the great difference between the temperature of day and night and low humidity. The most important agricultural crops include wheat, spring and autumn potatoes, wheat, barley, maize, vegetables, and a large number of orchards containing 2.5 million palm trees.
Anbar has about a bout 53 trillion cubic feet of natural gas as well as many mineral resources; and according to a survey conducted by the Iraqi Geological Survey ( USGS), that an accurate information confirmed the existence of o large mineral mines including uranium , manganese, iron, gold, silver, red mercury , and free sulfur, as well as copper, tin, chromium , and nickel aluminum .
“However,” the local government in Anbar does not care for this and does not seek to limit the activities of some influential and politicians who take advantages from their positions to seize the goods of the province, “local officials in Anbar stressed that the the smuggling of mineral wealth in the province is done by forged books, revealing the pressures exercised against the security agencies to release trucks loaded with metal ores.
Anbar Provincial Council member Ahmed Khamis Abtan, said mineral wealth in the province was being smuggled with forged books.
Iraq is also known that contains dozens of minerals and in large quantities, including some rare metals such as Uranium and other minerals , here we shed light on Iraqi wealth, and places of existence:
– Sulfur reserves of it are estimated at more than 600 million tons, three fields of it were only invested and there are large quantities of it in the governorates of Anbar and Salah Din and Nineveh, northern and western Iraq.
– Iron, concentrated in Anbar province in western Iraq, specifically in the desert southwest of Ramadi, capital of the local province and underground reserves are estimated of about 60 million tons.
– Lead, concentrated in the cities of Dohuk and Sulaymaniyah , , the northernmost of Iraq in the form of carbonate sedimentary rocks and the size of reserves of it is estimated of more than 50 million tons.
– Phosphate, Director General of the Geological Survey and Mining Company revealed that Anbar and the Kurdistan region are the richest in the field of mineral resources , with good quantities in Nineveh, Najaf, Muthanna, Wasit, indicating that Iraq can export the surplus of phosphate fertilizers to agricultural states with high population density, , such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and phosphate is concentrated in the province, and the amount of ten thousand million tons, and at a depth of 20 meters below the surface of the ground in the desert of Anbar.
Director General of the geological survey company, Dr. Khaldoun Al-Bassam, said that “all mineral discoveries in Iraq have been carried out by Iraqi hands since the year 1966, and that “private discoveries of Iraq’s possession of the first reserves of sulfur in the world , and the second reserve of the phosphate after State of Morocco have been done by the Iraqi Geological Survey within a project to determine reserves for the period from 1986 to 1990 by the discovery of 10 billion tons of phosphate,” pointing out that “the company is working to strengthen these reserves especially in the field of raw materials for the cement industry so that some companies of private sector have invested in this field .
– Gold, concentrated in Anbar province stretching from the Upper Euphrates region, leading to the Western Sahara in the depth of the province and the highest of the Tigris River west of Nineveh.
– Silver, concentrated in the region of Kurdistan within the volcanic rocks with other minerals, including lead and zinc in the city of Dohuk.
– uranium is concentrated in Anbar province of Akashat area, within the formations of the layers of phosphate in Western Sahara, and for political reasons , the Iraqi government declined before the US occupation to declare the size of thequantities of this metal.
– Copper, is concentrated in the province of Sulaymaniyah in the northern Kurdistan region, in the range of volcanic bottom and the estimates of the size of the metal are varying between 10 to 20 million tons.
– Red Mercury, a metal powder with red color and can be used in nuclear processes that have nuclear fission, and energy industry and nuclear bombs of high – intensity blast, and this material is the most expensive material in the world; where the price of a kilogram of which million dollar after being smuggled illegally from nuclear reactors.
It is concentrated in the Maysan province south of the country, where it was discovered over the past years, particularly in the marshes, and the Iraqi government is seeking to cooperate with Western companies to determine the quantities and methods of extraction.
– sodium sulphate, concentrated in Salahuddin province , the general reserve of this metal is estimated by about 22 million tons of raw material, the greater consumption of salt sodium sulfate is in the paper pulp industry (kraft pulp), and is used in the industry of household cleaners , and it is used in the glass industry to remove small air bubbles of molten glass , and in the textile industry where it is added during the dyeing to reduce the negative charging on fiber which facilitates the spread of dyeing equally.
– Dolomite, concentrated in Anbar and Muthanna, and the country’s estimated reserves are by about 330 million tons.
– Aljbasm, concentrated in Nineveh, Kirkuk and Salah al – Din, the country’s reserves of it are estimated by about 130 million tons, the annual production of it up to 1.5 million cubic meters per year, and lime is concentrated in the cities of Anbar, Muthanna, Najaf, Nineveh and Kurdistan, the country’s reserves of it are estimated by about 8,000 million tons.
– Silica, concentrated in Anbar province west of the country, specifically in the Western Sahara region, and appear in the form of layers of white sand, and consist mainly of metal of quartz and a country reserves of it are estimated about 75 million tons, annual production ceiling does not exceed 50 thousand tons.
– quartzite, concentrated in Anbar province in western Iraq in the Western Sahara region in particular Rutba area, and it appears in the form of rock blocks, resistance to erosion and reserves are estimated at about 16 million tons.
– The sands of feldspar, concentrated in the province of Najaf , south of the country, within the sandy layers and the country ‘s estimated reserves of which about 2.3 million tons.
– quartz, there is in Anbar and the city of Faw located on the Arabian Gulf in Basra, the country ‘s estimated reserves of which about 855 million cubic meters.
– Alssattaat (sulfur of strontium), is concentrated in the cities of Najaf and Karbala, and it is appeared in the form of rocky sand lenses, and consists basically of Alssattaat metal and the country’s estimated reserves of it by 0.8 million tons, non- invested.
– Bauxite, concentrated in Anbar province and the country’s estimated reserves of it by about one million ton.
– glass, concentrated in Anbar province , an extension from the center of the province and access to Western Sahara in the form of surface gleaming sand in the plains and plateaus, and estimated quantities in it about 400 million cubic meters.
The provinces of Iraq are rich in important minerals and distinct reserves and some of it occupied advanced positions in terms of reserves and production at the international level, including in the addition to the above: aluminum, ceramics, nickel, manganese and chromium in Baghdad, Babil, Karbala, Qadisiyah in the central and southern Iraq, and the size of it is not known yet being discovered recently by local Iraqi cadres lacked experience and mechanisms to determine the size of these explorations.
And Anbar province is the richest in the field of non metallic mineral wealth, and the region of Kurdistan is the richest in the field of metal mineral wealth.
And concerning the geological hazards that the country can be exposed to it, the Director General of the Geological Survey Company, Dr. Khaldoun Al-Bassam pointed out , that “in 2005, the company completed the regional map of geological hazards of Iraq that according to it , it is expected that everything will happen in the land of natural disasters , such as earthquakes floods, landslides, volcanoes, etc. .., the company has prepared maps with different scales to illustrate it , and Iraq is generally classified as not exposed significantly to such risks. ”
And on the company’s future plans, it is entitled from the state to supervise the amendment of the Metal Investment Law in force No. 91 of 1988, and developed a new bill in this area, commensurate with the evolution of thought and economic orientation of Iraq, and allowing the revitalization of the mining and minerals sector, to become an important tributary of the economy of Iraq “.
He added that “The company has an extraction activity among various other activities, and it is working through the production department , the extraction of salt from the salty areas of Basra, Samawa, and iron and silica sand and bentonite clays and kaoline and bauxite from mines in Western Sahara, and these raw materials meet the needs of the ministry of Industry and minerals , as well as the private sector, “noting that” the company opened offices in a number of Iraqi provinces, believing in the importance of informing these provinces with the natural mineral resources available to them , as well as guidance them on how to deal on investment, and these offices perform consulting acts for provincial councils.
And concerning Iraq’s participation in the London Conference; specializing in , non-oil natural resources , Al-Bassam said that the company “participated in the Iraqi government delegation at the London Conference, which was held to promote the mineral investment in Iraq, an activity still slow despite the huge mineral wealth in Iraq” pointing out that “the aim of this participation is to promote mineral investment , and let the world and the companies be acquainted that Iraq is rich in mineral resources, and to encourage those companies to come to Iraq, and begin with projects to invest this enormous wealth , and to promote the mining industry in Iraq, being a backward industry that does not live up to the level of the enormous potential available in the country. ”
Shatha Khalil *
A researcher at the Economic Unity
Raabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies