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Mines, key to resolve Afghanistan woes; “Beside political strife, illegal mining spurring conflict in the country”

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By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Political analysts and experts at the Rana Think Thank monthly session on Tuesday expressed concerns over the ongoing crisis in the country and said that Afghanistan’s mines are the only solution to the political and economic woes and could help the country in reaching peace.

Experts believed that Afghanistan is one of the most mineral enriched countries in the world; yet it continues to be one of the poorest nations globally. Afghanistan is replete with precious mines; so mining sector should be strengthened and mines extracted in a bid to help the country move toward economic self-sufficiency and reach durable peace and sustainable development.

Analysts in the session also articulated that illegal mining beside the ongoing political strife and regional rivalries, is spurring the conflict in Afghanistan. They claimed that many countries have their eyes on untapped minerals of Afghanistan.

“According to authentic surveys, Afghanistan houses minerals with an estimated worth of $3 trillion. Its income can be $27-30 trillion,” said Dr. Mohammad Rahim Qasimi

Speaking at the Rana Think Thank monthly session, he said that the mineral estimated $3 trillion underground, if it extract, enriched and process will reach to $27 trillion.

Afghan government should not let to anyone to sell minerals raw, otherwise Afghanistan will earn low income as well as will lose different projects and thousands of job opportunities, he added.

He explained that if Afghanistan extract mines enrich and process it, then we will be witness of different projects such as construction railways and establishing of factories where tens of thousands of job opportunities will be created as well as incomes of minerals increased significantly.

He stated that beside political issues and rivalry of different region and world countries, existence of enriched minerals can be another reason for ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.

He said that that different countries have eye on Afghanistan minerals.

Extraction of mineral mines will positively impact over reinforcement of security and peace, it will create different projects and job opportunities in this war turn country, he noted.

He said that extraction of mineral will lead the country toward development and prosperity.

Dr. Qasemi said that in order embark toward self reliance and progress; government must reinforce security of mines to keep mineral mines, mine workers as well as machineries safe.

He said that in advance government must focus over small minerals and slowly invest over extraction of big minerals.

Minerals must not sell raw, government itself must invest over minerals, enrich and process it in the country, he asserted.

Professional worker must be assigned for working in the fields of minerals as well as clear program for monitoring and management of mineral mines must be adopted, he mentioned.

He said that Hajigak Iron mine and Aynak cooper are the biggest minerals in Afghanistan.

Beside mentioned mines Afghanistan have enough coal mines from west to the east part, lithium from Kunar to Nuristan and Urzgan, gold in Badakshan, he noted.

Also many different other presious stones minerals are located in different part of Afghanistan, he underlined.

According to some report Afghanistan has over 1400 mineral fields, containing baritechromitecoalcoppergoldiron oreleadnatural gaspetroleumprecious and semi-precious stonessaltsulfurtalc, and zinc, among many other minerals. Gemstones include high-quality emeraldlapis lazulired garnet and ruby.

According to a joint study by The Pentagon and the United States Geological Survey, Afghanistan has an estimated 3 trillion USD of untapped minerals. There are six lapis mines in Afghanistan, the largest being located in Badakhshan province. There are around 12 copper mines in Afghanistan, including the Aynak copper deposit located in Logar province.

It is pertained to mention that some minerals extracted illegally in some remote insecure areas under Taliban control in the past decade, where mostly its income flow to the pocket of terrorist and Mafia, thus the government must take a clear program in hand in order to protect mineral mines the real capital of the country.