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Iran considers taking gold as payment for oil

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Monavar Khalaj
Financial Times, London
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TEHRA, Iran -- Iran is to consider accepting gold as payment for oil and other commodities in what is seen as a fresh attempt to skirt international sanctions on the country's nuclear programme and ease their impact on Iranian businesses and consumers.

"In addition to the U.S dollar and currencies of the trading countries, Iran could take gold in its commercial transactions with other countries," Mahmoud Bahmani, Iran's central bank governor, told domestic Iranian news agencies.

In recent months, Western powers, notably the U.S. and the European Union, have tightened financial sanctions on the Islamic regime in an attempt to force Iran to scale back or halt its efforts to enrich uranium.

... Dispatch continues below ...


Sona Discovers Potential High-Grade Gold Mineralization
at Blackdome in British Columbia -- 13.6g over 1.5 Meters

From a Company Press Release
November 22, 2011

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- With its latest surface diamond drilling program at its 100-percent-owned, formerly producing Blackdome gold mine in southern British Columbia, Sona Resources Corp. has discovered a potentially high-grade gold-mineralized area, with one hole intersecting 13.6 grams of gold in 1.5 meters of core drilling.

"We intersected a promising new mineralized zone, and we feel optimistic about the assay results," says Sona's president and CEO, John P. Thompson. "We have undertaken an aggressive exploration program that has tested a number of target zones. Our discovery of this new gold-bearing structure is significant, and it represents a positive development for the company."

Sona aims to bring its permitted Blackdome mill back into production over the next year and a half, at a rate of 200 tonnes per day, with feed from the formerly producing Blackdome mine and the nearby Elizabeth gold deposit property. A positive preliminary economic assessment by Micon International Ltd., based on a gold price of $950 per ounce over eight years, has estimated a cash cost of $208 per tonne milled, or $686 per gold ounce recovered.

For the company's complete press release, please visit:

Since then, Tehran has struggled to repatriate the hard currency it earns from crude oil exports, its main foreign currency earner and the economic lifeblood of the country.

This has forced the government to consider alternative ways to receive payment or pay for imports.

Already, Iran has started to receive Indian rupees and Chinese renminbi instead of dollars for its oil sales from India and China, the two biggest importers of its crude oil.

A separate barter arrangement also exists. "Iran imports goods from China and India instead of the hard currency and faces no problem in this regard," Mr Bahmani said. It is not clear how these barter deals work. It is also unclear if these agreements are designed to allow Iran to import grain to feed its population of 74 million or to help these countries clear the debt they have accrued through purchases of Iranian oil.

Mr Bahmani made clear that Iran's trade with other countries would not be limited to the dollar and "any country could pay with either its own currency or gold."

Local business people say Iran has already agreed with Turkey, South Korea, and Japan to carry out trade in their national currencies. Turkey said on Tuesday it was talking with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Libya to diversify its energy supply, which depends heavily on Iranian oil.

But Taner Yildiz, energy minister, added that Ankara was not bound by the US or the EU sanctions. "Turkey will never lose its strategic co-operation with Iran," he said. Turkey, South Korea, India, and China have all increased their gold reserves in recent years.

Tehran is also in talks with some Asian businesses and governments about paying for rice and palm oil imports in currencies other than the dollar, importers say.

Mr Bahmani's comments come less than a month after Iran's oil minister, Rostam Ghasemi, said Tehran had not resorted to barter deals yet. At the time Mr Ghasemi did not reject the possibility of exchanging Iranian oil for goods from other countries.

Sanctions imposed by the EU and US have hit Iranian consumers and businesses hard in recent months. The national currency, the rial, has weakened by about 30 per cent since October, pushing up the price of of imported goods. In an effort to contain inflation and stabilise the currency, the government has said it will provide importers with hard currency at the official rate, which is more than 30 per cent lower than the open market rate.

Mr Bahmani reassured importers on Tuesday that the central bank would supply "needed foreign currencies" to them and they would face "no problem."

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Prophecy Coal (TSX: PCY) Wins Positive Feasibility Study
for the 600-MW Chandgana Power Plant in Mongolia

Company Press Release
January 17, 2012

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada -- Prophecy Coal Corp. (TSX: PCY, OTCQX: PRPCF, Frankfurt: 1P2) has received a positive feasibility study for the company's 600-megawatt Chandgana Mine-Mouth Power Project in central Mongolia. The report was independently prepared by Ralf Thomsen, project manager at Steag, a German firm specializing in the planning, financing, construction, and operation of highly efficient thermal power plants for fossil fuels.

The study covers technical specifications, deployment, and financial analysis of a 4x150-mw thermal power plant to be built adjacent to Prophecy's Chandgana Tal coal deposit, which contains 140 million tonnes of measured coal. Last year the power plant received a construction license and the coal deposit received a mining license. Engineering, procurement, and construction management selection and project financing discussion have begun and are expected to be concluded this year.

Construction is planned to start in April 2013, with the first 150-mw unit being commissioned in October 2015 and subsequent units to start in April 2016, October 2016, and April 2017. With proper maintenance the project will have 30 years of commercial operation.

For the complete statement from the company, including maps and charts, please visit: