Afghan mining contracts up for grabs

Afghanistan is gearing up to award contracts to mine one the world’s largest iron ore deposits buried in a peaceful province of the nation that has at least $US3 trillion ($A3.48 trillion) in untapped minerals, the country’s top mining official said Thursday.

Geologists have known for decades about Afghanistan’s vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized minerals, but a US Department of Defense briefing earlier this week put a startling, nearly $US1 trillion ($A1.16 trillion) price tag on the reserves.

Afghanistan’s Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani called that a conservative estimate. He said he’s seen geological assessments and industry reports estimating the nation’s mineral wealth at $US3 trillion ($A3.48 trillion) or more.

For Afghanistan, a war-torn, landlocked country with virtually no exports, it is a potential windfall, although formidable obstacles remain including lack of investment, infrastructure and adequate security in most of the nation.

“The ministry has been working closely with the international organisations, including the World Bank, the US Geological Survey and the international mining and finance community for some time to ensure all of the Afghan people benefit from our rich natural resources for decades to come,” he said.

Shahrani plans to travel to Britain next week to present 200 foreign businessmen with information about the estimated two billion tons of iron ore at Hajigak in Bamiyan province, where the Taliban and other insurgents have no significant presence.

The project is to be bid on this northern autumn with contracts awarded late this year or early next year, he said.

Critics of the war in Afghanistan have been skeptical that the dollar amount of the country’s untapped minerals was being promoted at a time when violence is on the upswing and the international community is hungry for positive developments in the nearly 9-year-old war.

They argue that if impoverished Afghanistan is seen as having a bright economic future, it could help foreign governments persuade their war-fatigued publics that securing the country is worth the fight and loss of troops.

But Shahrani insisted that the release of the information, first reported earlier this week by The New York Times, followed months of work to assess the mineral deposits, sometimes with the aid of data compiled by the former Soviet Union when it was fighting in Afghanistan.

A. Rahman Ashraf, senior adviser to the minister of mines, said that during decades of conflict, an Afghan geologist safeguarded data about the mineral reserves at home.

He said the geologist, who has died, gave the information back to the government in 2002 and that since then, it has been used to help make modern assessments of the deposits.

Shahrani said the Ministry of Mines and the US Geological Survey had been sharing information for months.

“We were just waiting for the exchange of information from Washington to Kabul,” Shahrani said.

Shahrani added that the ministry recently completed a business plan to restructure, reform and modernise the ministry and improve oversight to international standards. He said those efforts coupled with new minerals and hydrocarbon laws will work to improve the transparency and efficiency of mining in the nation.

Still, without increased security and massive investment to mine and transport the minerals, it could take years for Afghanistan to bank the rewards. A rail line, for instance, is needed before any iron ore could be transported from Bamiyan.

And there’s always the potential that such a discovery could bring unintended consequences, such as corruption and competition among nations for access to the resources.

In November, two US officials familiar with intelligence reports alleged that Afghanistan’s former minister of mines, Mohammad Ibrahim Adel, accepted $US20 million ($A23.17 million) after a $US3 billion ($A3.48 billion) contract to mine copper was awarded in late 2007 to China Metallurgical Group Corp.

The former minister has denied having taken any bribes and said the contract went through all legal channels.

Aynak, a former al-Qaida stronghold 35 kilometres southeast of Kabul, is thought to hold one of the world’s largest unexploited copper reserves. Mining the copper could produce 4,000 to 5,000 Afghan jobs in the next five years and hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the government treasury, Shahrani said.

Craig Andrews, a lead mining specialist for the World Bank, said Aynak was expected to start producing copper within two to three years. Production of iron ore at Hajigak could begin in five to seven years, and possibly sooner, he said.

Andrews noted that studies show that every mining job creates five to 10 other jobs.

“Clearly, these mines will have a huge economic stimulus effect on not only the national economy, but the region in which they are located in,” Andrews said.

“I think when people have jobs and they have an income, they have a stake in the future and the future does not include insecurity. I think once the communities are anchored in an economy that gives them jobs money and income they would be less inclined to support the Taliban or other insurgent groups.”

He said the government, however, must guard against raising the expectations of the Afghan public.

Otherwise, “people are going to go off and pick up a rock and think that they can go to the bank,” he said.

“Unfortunately the business doesn’t operate that way. It takes a lot longer.”


this story about afganistan and its riches has saturated the media in the last 2 weeks..why now?

we know its a regurgitation of information already whats the true meaning behind the release of this information now?..i have an idea..what do the readers think?


~ by seeker401 on June 21, 2010.

31 Responses to “Afghan mining contracts up for grabs”

  1. LMAO, all this media buzz to get bag-holders fighting each other to lose their money. They won’t find out it was a lie until they already bought it hook/line/sinker. Rinse, repeat….

  2. Lots of greed and spying in global mining.
    I wonder if China was interested in the same mining projects as the missing Australians in the Congo?

    My mind taking me back to some of the things ex-Chinese diplomat-in-Australia, Chen Yonglin said about Chinese agents, Im likewise thinking about hangar security at the take-off point.

  3. Suddenly 9-11 makes sense!!

  4. awake, eyes wide open

    • good man..spread the news..we who have the knowledge are bound to help others..have a great day Zuz 🙂

  5. what I’m thinking of though is what other things we do not know of, are happening as we speak.

    that is the ultimate question.

    • lots of things that we try to expose..its hard though..they dont want us to know these things

      • there is always the untapped oil and gas reserves “newly” discovered off the shores of Lebanon and Israel…

        • A major natural gas field found off Israel stretches into Lebanese waters and could provoke further tensions between the two nations, as-Safir reported Tuesday.

          The Lebanese newspaper said the area, estimated to hold as much as 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, could turn Israel into a regional exporter of energy.

          The area, known as the Leviathan site, is off the coast of Haifa, Israel, and extends into Lebanon’s territorial waters, as-Safir reported.

          Hilmi Moussa, as-Safir’s Israel affairs analyst, said, “The region where the find was made lies mostly off the Lebanese shores and in international waters between the sea border of Palestine and the sea border of Cyprus. “

          interesting..that would provide some fireworks

  6. here’s a possible scenario: US needs to get out of Afghanistan due to possible military conflict in Iran as a result of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. To continue an opium industry requires significant troop levels, but a mining based industry could be sustained with lower levels. “discovery of new minerals” = afghan exit strategy.

    • hartrw, are you kidding? imho all this make sense just to keep a bunch of armed trained guys out the US. Official UR=9.8%, SGS=22%
      the war / conflict solves nothing.
      f*ck, how i like this term = “exit strategy”…

      • hartw is looking at in terms of an excuse to keep military there i believe..they have to have someone guarding the pipes when they are up

    • possible scenario mate..good thinking

  7. What happened to WiredPirate, Seek? …site won’t come up.

  8. I’ve got + – 30 years experience in South African gold & coal mines.Im qualified in Shaft Sinking and development of under ground tuneling,are currenly employed by Shaft Sinkers S.A at an An Anglo Ashanti [Moab Khotsong] mine.I’m seeking a position beyond the South African borders

  9. There’s lot of blood spilt for this mines. Where is humanity now?

  10. Hi.I am looking for the best dealer of gems an antiques of Afghanistan and Pakistan.feel free to contact me.thank you


  12. Trump-s new strategy on Afghanistan…

    ….the banksters urging to take the benefits on their investments, seems to me…


    “J.P. Morgan’s hunt for Afghan gold
    James Bandler
    May 11, 2011

    A team of bankers starts to tap the country’s vast mineral riches, with help from the Pentagon

    Absurd risks vs. amazing rewards

    Investing in conflict zones is often thrilling, but the great commodities rush that J.P. Morgan and the Pentagon are trying to spark in Afghanistan creates a risk/reward equation of a different magnitude. It’s extreme at both ends.

    But if the risks are absurd, the potential rewards are off the charts. Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of iron, copper, rare earth metals, and, yes, gold are buried beneath Afghanistan’s deserts and mountains. This wealth has lain there mainly undisturbed for thousands of years as armies of Persians, Greeks, Mongols, Britons, Russians, and now Americans tramped above. Invaders have dreamed of exploiting it since the time of Alexander the Great, but no one has yet succeeded on a large scale.”

    “”This is the time in Afghanistan for the adventure venture capitalists — for those who can do business in tough places in the world,” Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, says.”


    J.P. Morgan says it isn’t putting any of its own money into the project. Hannam secured $40 million from investors in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. They included Enso Capital founder Joshua Fink, son of BlackRock’s Larry Fink; British mining titan Peter Hambro; and Thai businessman Pairoj Piempongsant. Hannam created an investment vehicle, Central Asian Resources, to enter into a joint venture with Naderi’s new mining company, Afghan Gold. Sadat Naderi was made chairman of Afghan Gold, and Richard Williams CEO. Their goal is to pull 5.4 metric tons of gold from the mine during the first phase of operation. After that the plan is to go after five other gold sites, and then bid for the rights to other minerals, including copper and rare earths.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: