Financial Times | 30 November 2016

Shell Tries To Stop Nigeria Spill Claims Reaching English Courts

Royal Dutch Shell is seeking to block a lawsuit being brought against it in the English courts by two Nigerian communities of more than 40,000 people over oil spills in the Niger Delta.

Credit: Bloomberg.

Credit: Bloomberg.

The High Court in London is being asked to decide whether it can hear the claims lodged against the oil major and its Nigerian subsidiary relating to allegations of environmental damage caused by oil pollution.

Shell says the claims should be heard in the Nigerian courts because they involve issues under Nigerian law and the alleged damage took place in the west African country.

However, Leigh Day, the law firm acting for the claimants, argues the case should be heard in London. It says that similar cases have languished in the Nigerian justice system for years.

The hearing is being closely watched because it could potentially open the floodgates to more global companies being sued in the English courts.

The first claim is being brought on behalf of 2,335 people from the Bille kingdom, mostly fishermen who claim their environment has been devastated by oil spills over the past 5 years, though pollution and sabotage has occurred over the nearly 6 decades since Shell began producing oil there. The second is on behalf of the Ogale community, which consists of about 40,000 people.

Lord Goldsmith QC, for Shell, told the High Court on 22 November that the claim concerned “a uniquely Nigerian problem” and so should be heard in Nigeria.

“We do not minimize the problems that local people have suffered from the issue of pollution,” Lord Goldsmith told the court. “The question is how to deal with that. We say it is not going to be by coming to a London court but by looking to a holistic solution in Nigeria.”

Tulsa World | 21 November 2016

Pawnee Nation Sues US Claiming Oil, Gas Well Leases on Tribal Land Were Improperly Approved

Linking recent oil and gas activity to the state’s largest earthquake, the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, asking a judge to void recently approved drilling permits on tribal land and halt the issuance of new ones.

The lawsuit, filed 18 November in Tulsa federal court, claims numerous drilling permits and leases on tribal-owned lands held in trust have been improperly approved by the Interior Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

“In doing so, BIA and BLM also have run roughshod over Pawnee natural resource protection laws, disregarded a tribal moratorium on new oil and gas approvals, and violated the agencies’ trust responsibilities to the Pawnee,” the lawsuit alleges in its complaint.

The lawsuit was filed by the tribe’s Attorney General Don Mason on behalf of the tribe and Pawnee Nation member Walter R. Echo-Hawk in the US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma based in Tulsa.

Troutman Sanders via Mondaq | 10 November 2016

EPA Releases Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda

EPA has released “EJ 2020 Action Agenda,” its action plan for addressing environmental justice (EJ) for 2016 through 2020. The agenda builds on the foundation established in its last EJ strategic plan, Plan EJ 2014, which laid the groundwork of EJ practices with guidance and tools to integrate EJ in EPA’s programs and policies. The agenda is framed by three overarching goals with priority areas and examples of key actions for each goal, as well as measures to evaluate progress.

The first goal is to deepen EJ practice within EPA programs to improve the health and environment of overburdened communities.

The second goal is to work with partners to expand EPA’s positive impact within overburdened communities.

The final goal is to demonstrate progress on significant national environmental justice challenges.

Energy4me Named Best Outreach Program at 2016 World Oil Awards

SPE’s Energy4me program won top honors in the Best Outreach Program category at the World Oil Awards in Houston. The awards ceremony, now in its 15th year, seeks to recognize and honor the upstream industry’s top innovations and innovators.

Energy4Me's award for best outreach program.

Energy4Me’s award for best outreach program.

Also being honored by World Oil, Nathan Meehan, 2016 SPE president, received the Lifetime Achievement award. This award is bestowed on an individual who has made both significant strides and impacted the oil and gas industry throughout his or her career.

In all, awards were given out in 18 categories that encompass the full breadth of the upstream industry. Today’s innovations, many of which would have seemed far-fetched a generation ago, are enabling operators to find and produce hydrocarbons more safely, economically, and efficiently.

“I’m so very proud of the work that Energy4me accomplishes in classrooms and workshops around the world,” said Glenda Smith, SPE vice president for communications. “Under the leadership of Liz Johnson, the Energy4me team of Kim LaGreca and Zunaid Jooma delivers online educational resources to educators while helping students learn balanced information about the industry.”

Also vying for the best outreach program award were PetroChallenge at NExT, a Schlumberger company, and the VIP Consultant Program at Paradigm.

In awarding the program, the World Oil Awards said that the program has “increased awareness and, through its workshops, created opportunities for students to enter the industry. The program has contributed, by using hands-on activities, to the increased interest and passion of the students, leading them to choose engineering as their career path.”

The judges also said that Energy4me’s hands-on activities ensure that many students will be exposed to the various career paths in the industry and will contribute to increasing manpower and available human resources in the future.

Energy4me and World Oil share a commitment to oil and gas education. Each year, the World Oil Awards endows a leading university that provides education for careers in the petroleum industry, with much-needed funding to equip the next generation of innovators. Since the inception of the World Oil Awards, donations have been distributed to 32 universities as varying as the University of Houston and the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. This year’s beneficiary is the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University in Houston.

Visit Energy4Me here.

The Guardian | 2 November 2016

Expert Stresses Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Oil, Gas Business

An oil and gas expert and chief operating officer of LEKOIL Nigeria, Leke Adedipe, has recommended corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a strategy for building profitable oil and gas business.

He said that businesses can derive a lot of benefits by initiating and executing developmental projects in their host communities.

Adedipe made this recommendation while speaking on the topic, “CSR as a Business Strategy: Social Initiatives as a Profitable Business Model” at the 2016 University of Liverpool Alumni Business and Career Fair, in Lagos.

He stated that firms that give back to their host communities are more likely to enjoy a good and mutually beneficial relationship with them. According to him, such relationships could also lead to reduced cost of operations for the firm because its assets and resources would be protected by the locals.

He said socially responsible corporate organizations stand a better chance of addressing and managing risks and opportunities associated with the nature of their business.

Reuters | 13 October 2016

Activists Disrupt Key Canada/US Oil Pipelines

Climate-change activists on 11 October disrupted the flow of millions of barrels of crude from Canada to the United States in rare, coordinated action that targeted several key pipelines simultaneously.

Activists are seen attempting to shut down an oil pipeline valve after cutting chains at a valve station for pipelines carrying crude from Canadian oils sands to US markets near Clearbrook, Minnesota. Credit: Climate Direct Action/Handout via Reuters.

Activists are seen attempting to shut down an oil pipeline valve after cutting chains at a valve station for pipelines carrying crude from Canadian oils sands to US markets near Clearbrook, Minnesota. Credit: Climate Direct Action/Handout via Reuters.

Activists in four states were arrested after they cut padlocks and chains and entered remote flow stations to turn off valves in an attempt to stop crude moving through lines that carry as much as 15% of daily US oil consumption. The group posted videos online showing the early morning raids.

Protest group Climate Direct Action said the move was in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has protested the construction of a separate USD 3.7 billion pipeline carrying oil from North Dakota to the US Gulf Coast over fears of potential damage to sacred land and water supplies.

Officials, pipeline companies and experts say the protesters ran the danger of causing environmental damage themselves by shutting down the lines. Unscheduled shutdowns can lead to a build-up of pressure and cause ruptures or leaks, they said.

The activists had studied for months how to execute the shutdowns safely, said Afrin Sopariwala, a spokeswoman for the group.

“We are acting in response to this catastrophe we are facing,” Sopariwala said, referring to global warming.

Reuters | 29 September 2016

Whiting CEO: Tribal Service Deals Could Help Dakota Pipeline Impasse

The chief executive of North Dakota’s largest oil producer, Whiting Petroleum, says the standoff over the USD 3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline could be solved by giving economic opportunities, including supply and delivery contracts, to the Standing Rock Sioux and other Native Americans.

Thousands of protesters from all over the world have joined with the Sioux to oppose the pipeline, which would transport oil within half a mile of tribal land in North Dakota. Federal regulators temporarily blocked construction of the pipeline earlier this month under the Missouri River, mollifying opponents but irking the fossil fuel industry.

The Standing Rock Sioux say the pipeline’s construction would destroy tribal burial sites. They also worry that any future leaks would pollute their water supply.

Jim Volker, Whiting’s chief executive office (CEO), said those concerns would be best addressed through economic opportunities, including contracting with American Indian-owned firms for water hauling and other oilfield service needs across oil-producing regions.

“We as an industry like to see them provide those services,” Volker said in an interview on the sidelines of the Independent Petroleum Association of America’s Oil and Gas Investment Symposia conference in San Francisco.

“It does provide a better standard of living for them. It does provide a direct tie to the energy business and makes them and their tribal leaders more inclined to want to have more energy development.”

Reuters | 23 September 2016

US, Canada Aboriginal Tribes Form Alliance To Stop Oil Pipelines

Aboriginal tribes from Canada and the northern United States signed a treaty on 22 September to jointly fight proposals to build more pipelines to carry crude from Alberta’s oil sands, saying further development would damage the environment.

The treaty came as the politics around pipelines have become increasingly sensitive in North America, with the US Justice Department intervening to delay construction of a contentious pipeline in North Dakota.

The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion was signed by 50 aboriginal groups in North America, who also plan to oppose tanker and rail projects in both countries, they said in a statement.

Targets include projects proposed by Kinder Morgan, TransCanada, and Enbridge.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association declined to provide immediate comment.

FuelFix | 15 September 2016

Can a Huge New Oil Field and a Famous Artesian Spring Get Along?

Executives from the Houston oil and gas exploration company Apache are driving to the tiny West Texas town of Balmorhea. There, they hope to quell fears that hydraulic fracturing operations from the company’s recently discovered Alpine High oil field won’t contaminate—or use up—the town’s famous teal-blue spring waters.

Apache announced the Permian Basin discovery early in September. It said it expected to find more than 15 billion bbl of oil and gas under its 350,000 acres in the prairie north of the Davis Mountains.

The revelation surprised the industry. It also made Balmorhea State Park fans nervous.

The park is centered around a 3.5 million-gallon pool filled and fed by the San Solomon Springs. It stays a cool 72 to 76 degrees even during the heat of a Texas summer. Park travelers say they are worried that Apache’s drilling operations could spoil the spring, contaminate the water, or just use it all up.

Social Science Research Network | 12 September 2016

The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on the Performance and Growth of the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a highly volatile and sensitive issue in Africa, especially in the oil-producing nations such as Nigeria, where the deltaic region of the South-East and South-South part of the country have been involved in constant unrest with the multinational oil and gas corporations operating in these regions. Even though there are legislations and government decrees to enforce CSR compliance, these are violated with impunity and the government is at the mercy of these multinationals to provide employment and other economic benefits of their operations at the expense of the community wellbeing and safe and clean environment.

A caring and responsible organization recognizes that its economic activities have deeper effects on the people and environment in which it operates. Therefore, necessary attention is given on the economic, social, and environmental and human rights effects of its activities on all stakeholders. Although Nigeria is described as a favorable business haven for investors in oil and gas, the neglect of CSR by some companies operating in the oil-rich Niger Delta area has led the region to a volatile and hostile environment to operate safely and productively.

It is in recognition of this challenge that made the owners and management [Nigeria National Corporation Company (NNPC), Shell Petroleum Nigeria, Total, and Agip] of Nigeria LNG Limited right at the onset put in place a robust and proactive CSR strategy that endears the company to its immediate community and Nigerians as a caring and socially responsible company.

This research examines how Nigeria LNG uses CSR as a key strategy in creating an enabling environment that fosters support from all its stakeholders, which has led to good performance and growth of the company. This paper tries to bring out CSR initiatives taken by Nigeria LNG in Nigeria that made it stand out as a role model with regard to CSR in Nigeria.

NPR | 12 September 2016

North Dakota Pipeline Protester: “It’s About Our Rights As Native People”

In North Dakota, work has stopped on one section of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Still, over the weekend, protesters continued to stream into camps set up near the construction site.

Native American protesters march from an encampment on the banks of the Cannonball River to a nearby construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline to perform a daily prayer ceremony. Credit: NPR/Andrew Cullen.

One protest camp is about an hour’s drive south of Bismarck. A prairie there is covered with tepees, tents, and RVs. Flags from tribes around the country line the dirt road into the camp.

“We brought a ton of water, sleeping bags, mats to sleep on,” said Jessie Weahkee of Albuquerque. She traveled 17 hours from Albuquerque to bring a moving truck full of donations for the hundreds of people who are now living at the camp.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposes the pipeline because the route crosses sacred sites and burial places. They’re also concerned that, if the pipeline ruptures, it could pollute local drinking water.

Weahkee says her family faced a similar situation back home. They opposed plans to build a highway through Petroglyph National Monument, but they lost that battle. So she’s here—hoping the Standing Rock Sioux can win this one.

For her, this protest is about more than opposing an oil pipeline. “It’s about our rights as native people to this land. It’s about our rights to worship. It’s about our rights to be able to call a place home, and it’s our rights to water,” she said.

The Sangan Iron Ore Mines: A Role Model for Sustainable Development in Iran

The Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration is one of the four member societies that are part of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Exploration Engineers. In addition to SPE, the other member societies are the Association for Iron and Steel Technology and The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society. As part of SPE’s efforts to broaden the awareness of our members on key HSE issues of interest as well as share knowledge and network on related activities outside our industry, we are posting an article recently published by SME in their magazine Mining Engineering that addresses sustainable development initiatives in Iran. Questions regarding these initiatives should be directed to authors using the contact e-mails noted in the article.

By J. Kretschmann and R. Amiri
Mining Engineering Magazine

The Sangan iron ore mines (SIOM) in Iran are located in a remote area near the Afghanistan border. The SIOM deposit contains a geological resource of 1.1 Gt of mostly magnetite with an iron (Fe) grade ranging from 27 to 61%. The Iranian government plans a stepwise development of SIOM in cooperation with private companies to satisfy the growing demand of the Iranian steel industry. Sustainable development is an influential ethical concept in mining all around the world. However, a successful realization of a sustainable development plan is not possible without a foundation on the core values and regarding the specific circumstances of the individual mining country. This paper introduces SIOM and describes sustainable development activities undertaken during its development. From the early stages, these activities have been realized to secure the acceptance of the stakeholders in the region. To evaluate their effects, indicators were filtered to the ones with the highest priority for the stakeholders. Moreover, Islamic values and Iranian regulations and their influences on SIOM were analyzed.

Mining Industry in Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran holds 68 types of minerals, including salt, sand and gravel, gypsum, chrome, lead, zinc, copper, coal, gold, and iron, with 33.5 Gt of proven reserves and more than 51.7 Gt of potential resources. Iran is ranked among the 15 major mineral rich countries (1). In accordance with the statistics published by Statistical Center of Iran, there were 5,316 active mines and 84,922 employees in the whole country in 2012–13 (2), and, according to the statistics published by Central Bank of Iran in 2011, the share of this sector in the gross domestic product of the country was 1.2% (3).

Sangan Iron Ore Mines (SIOM). SIOM is one of the largest iron ore deposits in Iran and is considered one of the Middle East’s richest deposits. It contains a total geological resource of 1.1 Gt of mostly magnetite with a Fe grade ranging from 27 to 61%. It is located 300 km southeast from Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan-e-Razavi province, and 18 km northeast of Sangan town, in Khaf County, at latitude N34°24′, longitude E60°16′ in the northeastern Khorasan-e-Razavi province, 30 km west of the Afghanistan border (4) (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1—Geographical location of study area.

SIOM is owned by the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development & Renovation Organization (IMIDRO). IMIDRO intends to develop an openpit mine complex and supporting facilities in SIOM for the production of about 18.5 Mt/a of iron oxide concentrate and pellets in four developing phases (5).

Sustainable Development in SIOM
SIOM is an example of a large-scale mine that is located in a special geographical and remote area. During the development of the mining complex, many economic, environmental, and social relevant activities have been realized in the Sangan area shown in Table 1. In general, these activities have contributed positively to the development of the region.


Table 1—Measures and impacts of SIOM supporting a sustainable development in the Sangan region (6).

Stakeholder Model for SIOM
Key stakeholders are those who are strongly affected by activities in the mining sector because they are affected by gains or losses caused by these activities (14).

In strategic mining management, the identification of key stakeholders in order to consider their interests and expectations is substantial. If mining strategies are based on a correct understanding of key stakeholders’ interests and expectations, the implementation of these strategies and measures is easier due to fewer conflicts (15). Key stakeholders of SIOM—including their parts Sangan Iron Ore Project, Iran East Iron Ore Company, and Sangan Iron Ore Complex—are illustrated in Fig. 2.


Fig. 2—Stakeholders of SIOM.

The main expectations of key stakeholders in the Iranian mining sector, especially SIOM, regarding sustainable development should be considered in the strategy of the SIOM top management (Table 2).

Sustainable Development Indicators. Policy- and decision-makers can choose from many indicators to assess the progress toward realizing sustainable development in their businesses. To select the most appropriate indicators for the development of SIOM, the authors have chosen sustainable development indicators on the basis of a two-stage process. First, the indicators were selected by the criteria of long-term measurability and relevance to the most important stakeholders of the mining project. Second, the evaluation was based on a fuzzy Delphi method (FDM), using questionnaires that were distributed among representatives of the different stakeholder groups (6). Fig. 3 illustrates the steps of selecting the most applicable sustainable development indicators (SDIs) to SIOM.

Table 2—Expectations of key stakeholders of mining sector in relation to the sustainable development (16).

Table 2—Expectations of key stakeholders of mining sector in relation to the sustainable development (16).

Table 3 includes the result: a ranking of the 15 most important social, economic, and environmental indicators. These are the ones that really matter to evaluate the sustainable development of SIOM for the stakeholders. These indicators are measurable and widely accepted. This is an approach to realize the global concept of sustainable development locally.

Examples of Sustainable Development Indicators
Net Enrollment Rate in Primary Education. The indicator shows the proportion of children of primary school age who are enrolled in primary school. Universal primary education is an important goal of the international sustainable development agenda. The indicator is the ratio of the number of children of official school age (as defined by the national education system) who are enrolled in primary school to the total population of children of official school age (Fig. 4) (10).

Fig. 3—Selection process of DSIs applicable to SIOM.

Fig. 3—Selection process of DSIs applicable to SIOM.

The number of children enrolling in primary education has increased during 1996–16. The ratio has increased from 66.7% in 1996 to 98.8% in 2015. This can be attributed to the construction of higher education institutes by SIOM officials in the framework of corporate social responsibility activities. Having opportunities to pursue studies in higher levels or to get a decent job seems to increase the motivation of parents to get their children educated.

Length of Railway. In an isolated region such as Sangan, railways as “development corridors” have a significant impact on improving the overall situation of the region (9). This indicator is the ratio of length of railways under operation in Khaf County to the whole Khorasan-e-Razavi Province (Table 4).

The main reason for expanding the railway system in Khaf County was the presence of SIOM. From 2011 until 2014, the construction of railways accelerated due to the inauguration of SIOM and the increase in production and transportation (9).

Table 3—The most important sustainable development indicators to evaluate SIOM by external stakeholders (6).

Table 3—The most important sustainable development indicators to evaluate SIOM by external stakeholders (6).

Water Consumption. SIOM is located in Khaf township. Khaf is known for arid and dry weather in summer and temperate winters. Due to the high distance from sea and low precipitation, there is no specific permanent river in the area, just temporary ones in winter after rainfall (13). Besides these natural characteristics, over exploitation of water supplies, growing population and increasing water consumption in industry are constraints that restrict the possibility of agriculture and threaten the future development of this region (5). Hence, the water consumption of SIOM is a crucial factor to guarantee a sustainable operation of the whole system. The most important indicator is the ratio of the annual consumption of water in SIOM compared to the annual consumption in Khaf County in total. Fig. 5 shows the trend of the water consumption ratio between 2007 and 2015. SIOM´s share of consumption has increased dramatically. Therefore, strategies to reduce the use of water resources have a high priority.

Fig. 4—Ratio of enrollment at primary school (11).

Fig. 4—Ratio of enrollment at primary school (11).

Sustainable Development and Islamic Laws and Regulations
Because Iran is an Islamic country and its constitution is in accordance with Islamic ethics, an analysis of the religious fundamental is helpful to understand religious key stakeholders and their interests. The dominant religion in Iran is Islam, with 98 percent of Iranians belonging to the Islam religion. Of this group, 89% of Iranians are Shi’a and 9% are Sunni. Hence, the Quran has been chosen as the main source to find out the position of environment and its exploitation in Islamic ethics. The Prophet Muhammad is the prophet of Islam and is usually referred to by Muslims as the Messenger of God (Rasulullah) (17).


Table 4—Length of railway in Khaf and Khorasan-e-Razavi (12).

Islam and the Environment. Environment protection is an important aspect in the Quran. According to the Quran, each known or unknown creature in the universe performs two major functions: a social function in the service of mankind and a religious function as it evidences God’s omnipresence, wisdom, omniscience and omnipotence (20).

Muslims are encouraged to reflect on the relationship between living organisms and their environment—especially water (21,

Fig. 5—SIOM´s share of water consumption in the region between 2007 and 2015 (13).

Fig. 5—SIOM´s share of water consumption in the region between 2007 and 2015 (13).

22), air (23), and plants and animals (24)—and to maintain the ecological balance created by Allah. Protection of the environment is essential according to the Quran, and mankind has the responsibility to ensure safe custody of the environment (18). Fig. 6 illustrates the Islamic approach toward the environment. The Quran prescribes how humans should use the environment. Islamic teachings are meant to take proactive care of the environment based on principles of environmental protection (19).

General Rules To Protect the Environment From Harm
Islamic jurisprudence includes many rules that can be interpreted as a foundation of a sustainable development approach. For example (25):

Fig. 6—Islamic approach to the environment.

Fig. 6—Islamic approach to the environment.

“Do no harm.” This means that a human being may not cause harm to himself or to others. And he may not sustain harm as a result of the acts of others. Each person is entitled to use water for drinking and personal purposes, but may not pollute or waste it. Each environmental right has a corresponding environmental duty.

“Warding off evil takes precedence over bringing benefits.” If an act that a person intends to do brings benefits but could also cause major harm to others, such an act is forbidden in Islam. For example, if somebody dumps chemical waste in oceans, it might raise profits, but cause harm to sea life and humans. Therefore, such an act is forbidden.

“Sustaining personal harm to ward off public harm.” The damage resulting from avoiding the frequent use of pesticides and relying on biological rather than chemical resistance is much less than the damage inflicted on many creatures as a result of polluting the soil with chemicals, adversely affecting human beings and animals as well as killing micro-organisms in the soil that are needed for its fertility.

“Harm shall be removed.” The causes of harm must be removed. When ships dump waste in the sea, they pollute and destroy sea life and disturb the environment balance. The entity causing harm must take all necessary measures to remove the adverse effects of its acts, because they destroy the earth. According to the Quran, God pledges to severely torture those who do mischief on earth. This warning causes people to control their acts and bear responsibility for them.

“General rules to preserve the Earth’s resources.” A further important Islamic principle related to the protection of the environment is the Islamic prohibition concerning thoughtless consumption; that is, wastefulness and extravagance. Wastefulness is not only the thoughtless consumption of natural resources, it is at the same time disrespectful toward God. At this time, it’s widely known that the world’s resources (including mining resources) are limited. Extravagance and overconsumption will affect not only current dwellers but also forthcoming generations. Therefore, human beings are compelled to be aware and sensitive concerning this matter (26).

Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran was prepared after the Islamic revolution in 1978 and it was recognized after receiving the majority of votes in the referendum in March 1979 (27).

Some specific items of the basic principles of the constitution of Iran related to sustainable development (in the case of social, economic and environmental) are the following (28):

Social. Article 19. All people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; and color, race, language and the like do not bestow any privilege.

Article 30. The government is bound to make available, free of charge, educational facilities for all up to the close of the secondary stage and to expand free facilities for higher education up to the limits of the country’s own capacity.

Economic. Article 43. The economy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its objectives of achieving the economic independence of the society, uprooting poverty and deprivation, and fulfilling human needs in the process of development while preserving human liberty, is based on the following criteria:

  • The provision of basic necessities for all citizens: housing, food, clothing, hygiene, medical treatment, education, and the necessary facilities for the establishment of a family.
  • The utilization of science and technology and the training of skilled personnel in accordance with the developmental needs of the country’s economy.

Environmental. Article 50. The preservation of the environment, in which the present as well as the future generations have a right to a flourishing social existence, is regarded as a public duty in the Islamic Republic. Economic and other activities that inevitably involve pollution of the environment or cause irreparable damage to it, therefore, are forbidden.

Rules, Regulations, Special Laws and Statutes Related to Mining
In this regard, several national sources were reviewed and issues related to sustainable development principles were extracted. The most important ones are listed in Table 5.

Table 5— Examples of the attention of the Iranian mining rules and regulations to sustainable development.

Table 5— Examples of the attention of the Iranian mining rules and regulations to sustainable development.

Rules and Regulations of the First to Fifth 5-Year Development Plans of the Islamic Republic of Iran
After two, 5-year development plans (FYDP) were implemented unsuccessfully in the 1990s, the government of the Islamic Republic prompted the third FYDP to strengthen structural reforms, including promotion of the private sector, development of private domestic and international banks and insurance companies, and substitution of tariffs for quantitative trade restrictions. The following fourth FYDP was comprehensive, contained abundant quantitative targets, and constituted the first of the four pillars of a 20-year economic and social vision to significantly upgrade Iranian economic, political, and social status. The plan underscored a smaller government role in the economy, drew attention to enterprise privatization, and stressed more reliance on market forces. After the fourth FYDP, the government deliberated on a currently valid fifth FYDP with many targets that were much less quantitative, but a compilation of wishes and desires (33) upon the economic, social and cultural development of the Islamic Republic of Iran (6).

In all of these plans, aspects of sustainable development are included, especially in the third, fourth, and fifth plan. The main reason is the development of new management approaches according to the principles of sustainable development in the late 1990s. So the priorities of the government authorities at that time (which is known as the construction period) were mainly focused on the improvement of the country’s infrastructure. After that period, coinciding with the start of the third development plan, the considerations and approaches to the principles of sustainable development have been increased by the government.

Strategy Formulation for SIOM
The establishment of strategies, the development of strategic plans, and the implementation of those strategies and plans are key management processes in enterprises (34). A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis is a simple but widely used tool that helps in understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in a project or business activity. Strengths and weaknesses are usually internal to the organization, while opportunities and threats are usually external (35).

The SWOT analysis was conducted for SIOC (Table 6), which is currently the main subsidiary of IMIDRO in SIOM.

Table 6—Comprehensive framework for SIOC strategy formulation (36).

Table 6—Comprehensive framework for SIOC strategy formulation (36).

In SWOT analyses, external and internal factors are examined to identify corporate opportunities, threats, strengths, and weaknesses. The analyses usually described by a SWOT matrix are a tool to develop suitable strategies for a company (36).

Considering the economic, social and environmental situation in SIOC and Khaf region, the SWOT matrix was filled by experts who are familiar with the project and the situation. Each component within the matrix was scored and ranked according to the importance and sensitivity.

After the SWOT analysis and according to the quantitative strategic planning matrix, a set of strategic measures was suggested ranked on the basis of feasibility and priority long term (Table 7).

Table 7—SIOC strategic priorities.

Table 7—SIOC strategic priorities.

According to the analysis, a comprehensive crude iron ore pricing method has the highest priority and should be considered seriously by top management. Subsequent priorities are the construction of an airport, selling products on the energy market, and the development of renewable energy sources.

Mining and mineral industry are important sectors in many developed, developing, and less-developed countries. However, the mining industry in comparison with many other industries is known as risky. Its success depends on and is sensitive to economic, environmental, social, political, and other circumstances.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is ranked among the world’s 15 most mineral-rich countries. Hence, sustainable mining management should have priority in the country’s development strategy. This paper has described some fundamental aspects to develop a strategic approach based on sustainable development in Iran.

Therefore the authors have:

  • Reviewed religious and legislative aspects.
  • Undertaken and evaluated measures in SIOM.
  • Examined SIOM to assess its influence on the sustainable development of the region by selecting 15 indicators using the FDM.
  • Analyzed expectations of key stakeholders.

All analyses and the results should pave the way for a more sustainable management of SIOM. Hence, the SWOT method was applied to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for SIOC and the most important strategic measures were suggested.

The hope is that all measures help to secure a sustainable strategic management approach of SIOM and make this a role model for similar projects in other mining countries, especially Islamic ones.


  1. Rashidinejad, Farshad, K. Karim, 2011, “Iran Mining Industry Based on the 20-Year Perspective 2025,” Second International Future Mining Conference, Sydney, NSW, p.235.
  2. Statistical Centre of Iran (SCI), 2013, “Iran’s active mine survey report.”
  3. Central Bank of Iran (CBI), 2011, “Economic report and balance sheet.”
  4. Kretschmann, Jürgen, and Ravanbakhsh Amiri, 2013b, “The Sangan Iron Ore Mines: An Example for Modern Mining in Iran,” Aachen International Mining Symposia (AIMS), Aachen, Germany, pp.517-530.
  5. Kretschmann, Jürgen, and Ravanbakhsh Amiri, 2014, “Solutions for a sustainable water consumption reduction in Sangan Iron Ore Mines in Iran,” Aachen International Mining Symposia (AIMS), Aachen, Germany.
  6. Kretschmann, Jürgen, and Ravanbakhsh Amiri, 2015, “How To Select The Most Appropriate Indicators For Sustainable Mining – A Case Study Of Sangan Iron Ore Mines (SIOM) in Iran,” Sustainable Development in the Minerals Industry (SDIMI), Vancouver, Canada.
  7. Kretschmann, Jürgen, and Ravanbakhsh Amiri, 2013, “Social Responsible Mining in East Iran: The Sangan Iron Ore Mines,” 23rd World Mining Congress, Montreal, Canada, Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM), Paper 197.
  8. Tavakoliroodi, Amir, 2012, “Security, political, and economic effects of mining activities in SIOM,” Taybad Azad University, Iran.
  9. Kretschmann, Jürgen, Ravanbakhsh Amiri, and Azadeh Zarekar, 2013, “Realization of Sustainable Development in Iranian Mining Sector – case study: Sangan Iron Ore Mines (SIOM),” The first International Conference on Economic Management in Mining Activities (EMMA), Hanoi, Vietnam.
  10. United Nations, 2007, “Indicators of Sustainable Development: Guidelines and Methodologies,” The Department of Economic and social Affairs (DESA), Third Edition, New York.
  11. Statistical Center of Iran, 2014, “Statistical yearbook of Khorasan-e-Razavi Province.”
  12. Metra consulting engineering and engineering department of SIOM equipment, 2014, Road and urban development office in Khaf County.
  13. I.R. of Iran meteorological organization. Access at:
  14. Tarbiat-e-Modarres University, December 2012, “Mine Sector Stakeholders Analysis,” The Country Mining Sector Strategy Document Project, Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade of Iran, p.18.
  15. Tarbiat-e-Modarres University, December 2012, “Mine Sector Stakeholders Analysis,” The Country Mining Sector Strategy Document Project, Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade of Iran, p.36.
  16. Tarbiat-e-Modarres University, December 2012, “Mine Sector Stakeholders Analysis,” The Country Mining Sector Strategy Document Project, Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade of Iran, p.35.
  17. Fazlun M, K., 2002, “Islam and the Environment,” Social and economic dimensions of global environmental change, in: Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change, Vol. 5. ed. by Peter Timmerman, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., pp.332-339.
  18. Al-Bana, F., 2013, “Islam and environment protection.” Last access: 11/2014.
  19. Islam: solution to climate change/global warming, 2011. Last access: 12/2014.
  20. Fazlun, K., 2010, “Islam and the environment ethics and practice.” The 15th general conference on The Environment in Islam, 27-29 September, Amman, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
  21. The Holy Quran, Surat Al-Anbya, Verse 61.
  22. The Holy Quran, Surat Al- Qamar, Verse 28.
  23. The Holy Quran, Surat Al-Hijr, Verse 22.
  24. The Holy Quran, Surat Al-An`am, Verse 38
  25. Nouh, Muhammad (ND), “Sustainable Development in Muslim Context,” Last access: 7/2014.
  26. The Holy Quran, Surat Al-Qamar, Verse 49.
  27. Last access: 10/2014.
  28. Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran., last access: 11/2014.
  29. Mirzaei, A. Reza, 2011, “Margin Reticulum of Rules and Regulations for Mines,” Behnami Publications, Tehran, Iran.
  30. Agha Nabati, Ali and Shariati, Shahram, 2007, “The Complete Set of Rules and Regulations of Iran Mining Sector and Mineral Industries, Education Centre and Industrial Research of Iran,” Tehran, Iran.
  31. Law and Executive Regulations of Mining Engineering, Mine Safety Supervision Bureau, Ministry of Industry and Mines, Act of 2003.
  32. Law and Executive Regulations of Mining Engineering, Mine Safety Supervision Bureau, Ministry of Industry and Mines, Act of 2001.
  33. Ghasimi, Reza, 2012, “The Iranian Economy under its 4th and 5th Five Year Development Plans.” Access at:
  34. Rodney Jones, 2002, “Fundamentals of strategic and tactical business planning,” Prepared for the 2002 MAST Program.
  35. Mindtools, 2007, “SWOT analysis: discover new opportunities. Manage and eliminate threats,”
  36. Aarabi, S. M., 2013, “The Handbook of Strategic Planning,” Mohtasham Publications, ISBN: 964-379-095-9, Tehran, Iran, pp.54-55.

J. Kretschmann is president, TH Georgius Agricola University of Applied Sciences, Bochum, Germany. R. Amiri is a PhD student at RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany, and can be reached at