Around 1960’s Gilsonite Mines were explored in West of Iran and samples of cargoes were sent to USA for testing and further development. With Iranian revolution in 1979 the connections between Iran & USA turned and any mutual commercial activities stopped so as the development of Gilsonite mines in Iran by Americans. Later in 1998 Iranians re-opened the mines and from 2003 Export of Iranian Gilsonite started with the help of Chinese technology.

Iranian Gilsonite have a wide range of quality and aspects (ash content from 5% to 35%) and have been exported to over 50 countries worldwide, making good and bad impressions both on the consumers at the same time. Considering the sanctions on Iran, Iranian Gilsonite has not found its rightful place among the global suppliers of natural bitumen.

Known Certified Suppliers of Iran Gilsonite:

1- Razan Himan Gharb Co.,

2- Mehr Afzoun Saman Co.,

3- Zista Group,

4- Sormak Mining Co.,

Known Black-listed Suppliers of Iran Gilsonite:

A: Chemical Mine World Co., , Failed Supply Records in China

B: ATDM Co.,, Blending Non-Gilsonite material with cargo for Egyptian Market.

(Note: In order to submit a black-listed Gilsonite supplier to our database, solid evidence shall be provided to support the information which will be posted only after getting checked by our specialists.)

Problems for Iran Gilsonite supply:

– Considering the sanctions on Iran, purchasing cargoes from Iranian companies are difficult and indirect making risky quality control procedures and complex payment methods. Respectively business is done mostly through personal relationships rather than corporate contracts. So generally purchasing Iranian Gilsonite is a risky business on both aspect of purchasing and sanctions’ lawsuits for larger size buyers.

– Since accessing Iranian commercial data is not easy, it is difficult to check the credibility of Iranian Gilsonite Suppliers. Adding the increasing demand for Iran Gilsonite, the results were growth of number of suppliers without proper company size to act as an export desk (not even a company in many cases). Therefore it is difficult for the buyers to discriminate between the actual and certified suppliers with fake or weak suppliers making them to lose money on the import.

– Iranian mining technology is fully imported or copied from Chinese mining technology giving low efficiency results as Chinese are not dominant on Gilsonite mining and processing unlike many other minerals. Thus the product coming from the Iranian Gilsonite mines might have many defects such as the stones blended into the coarse supply of Iran Gilsonite to China increasing the ash content at the processing procedures.


– Several Chinese entities assisted on making this article who requested to remain anonymous.

– A reputable Bituminous Membrane Company in Egypt