Some 250 billion Rials has been earmarked for 14 gold exploration projects across Iran during the fourth five-year plan (2005-2010), reported Moj news agency.
It noted that the exploration projects will be conducted in Delijan, Tala-Khouni, Zarshouran, Dam, and Khenj gold mines in Isfahan province as well as in Karouyan in Kurdestan, Deh-Hossein in Arak and Gandi and Touzlar in Zanjan.
Astaneh, Javaherdeh, Soltanieh, Zarshokouh and Zoun are other major gold exploration projects, which will be undertaken over the next five years.
The news agency further reported that Iran has the potential to produce 23 tons of gold per annum in course of the fourth plan.
Foreign parties involved in joint ventures can exploit gold mines for 25 years, it was announced last month.
Under national laws, foreign firms are not permitted to undertake gold mine exploration projects on their own and that they will have to enter into joint ventures with Iranian companies.
A joint venture with a British company is planning long-term presence in gold mine exploration projects in the northwestern province of Kurdistan.
Canadians are also operating in gold mine projects in the western city of Takab, West Azerbaijan province.
Foreign firms have shown greater interest in participating in gold projects in Iran with an Irish company investing 500,000 euros in a gold exploration project in the western city of Takes tan, Qazvin province.
More than 50 major gold mining regions have been identified across the nation.
Iran is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of mineral reserves.