Focus: Gem City Project

Jewel in the Crown

Jewel in the Crown

May. 14, 2013

Arguably the oldest city in Iran and occupied by civilizations such as the Assyrians and the Greeks during ancient history, Hamedan has evolved into a cultural capital, and is set to also become an economic and industrial center. Led by Persian Yaghout Tourism and Industrial Company, the Gem City complex is designed to showcase the city's historical mineral resources, modern industrial capacity, and touristic facets.

Owing to the significant mineral potential in the greater province of Hamedan, Persian Yaghout Tourism and Industrial Company has been carrying out an initiative to develop the Gem City complex since 2010. The project is currently in the final stages of planning, with local and foreign partnership and contracting agreements under negotiation and investors being sought. When complete, the crown jewel of the site will be the Gem City Tower, which will be constructed over an area of 12,000 sqm and feature 12 floors containing 150 commercial and administrative units. Those working or interested in the field of precious stones will also benefit from the aesthetic appeal of the complex, anticipated to attract a wide range of mineral resource investors and enthusiasts from across the globe. In addition to the unique Gem City Tower as the commercial hub of the site, the main elements of the project include a manufacturing center equipped to produce electronics parts, an apartment hotel with guest halls, a jewelry and precious stones museum, and a mosque for employees and visitors. Spread over a total area of 100,000 sqm, the project's tourism pull is complemented by beautiful vistas of the city of Hamedan, which sits 1,850 meters above sea level.

The history of gem production in Iran, and especially Hamedan, traces back to periods before the introduction of Western machinery and techniques, when local miners discovered turquoise, quartz, amethyst, emerald, and ruby, in addition to gold, copper, and silver deposits. Today, these precious minerals and stones are found in approximately 200 regions of Iran, with other important mines located in Isfahan, Khorasan, and Zanjan. However, the Gem City complex seeks not only to exploit these natural resources, but also showcase the historical and economic industry to domestic tourists and foreign visitors while capitalizing on the monetary value of gems by manufacturing stones usable in electronic parts such as optical chips and lasers. Currently, Iran exports approximately IR700 billion of precious stones, gems, and associated value-added products on an annual basis.

Tapping into the world's $600 billion gem and precious stones market, the project's management team aims to attract a variety of investors and boost Iran's participation in a lucrative non-oil industry. The required total funding for the project is estimated to be €706 million, €200 million of which will be attracted from foreign sources. Furthermore, equipment, machinery, and technical know-how from abroad will be utilized as part of the project, with separate investments of €66 million, €99 million, and €33 million, respectively. Nevertheless, the project is expected to create jobs in Hamedan Province, where the value of the suitable local workforce and technology has been estimated at a little over €30 million. Once agreements are concluded with local and international contractors, the complex is expected to be operational within three years and boast an annual capacity of 5 million pieces and electronic parts per annum.