Maximizing Afghanistan’s Natural Resources

Survey work in Samangan Province identified over 250 million metric tons of coal
Survey work in Samangan Province identified over 250 million metric tons of coal
Supporting the Ministry of Mines to gather data for tenders that will generate millions of dollars in future government revenue
This USAID-sponsored activity will help the Afghan Government identify geological data for sites not surveyed since the 1960s Afghanistan’s mineral and hydrocarbon resources will be an important source of employment and revenue for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), with 25 percent or more of GDP generated directly or indirectly by the mining / hydrocarbons sectors. In order to maximize the future benefits of Afghanistan’s mineral resources, USAID is assisting the Ministry of Mines (MoM) gather and evaluate geological data. 
This new data will help the ministry better assess the nature and value of mineral deposits, and prepare and promote tenders in order to attract private sector investment. USAID also works directly with the MoM to ensure these tenders meet Afghan law and international standards, and they will continue working to manage the implementation of future projects in the mining sector. 
USAID is partnering with the ministry to share expertise in geo-science field investigation and drilling activities, which are critical requirements for examining the feasibility of productive mineral concessions. The ministry is gaining experience in data analysis and management to verify the location and quantity of mineral deposits; evaluating and packaging tenders; as well as managing contracts in keeping with international standards to ensure transparency, greater government revenue generation, and local economic development. 
Specifically, USAID works with the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS), a division of the MoM, to train laboratory staff on basic lab management, mineral analysis techniques, and quality control methods. USAID has provided the Minister preliminary recommendations on capacity development for the lab, and a formal report is in preparation. 
Furthermore, USAID and the AGS recently finished surveying a coal mine at Dar-i-Suf in Samangan Province. The survey work included trenching, underground sampling and mapping, leading to the identification of previously unrecognized coal seams and the charting of extensions of known seams, which are currently being exploited by small scale miners. It has been determined that the deposit contains, at a minimum, 250 million metric tons of coal, far more than the ministry originally anticipated. 
USAID is working with the AGS to train ministry staff on the use of four core sample drill rigs recently purchased by the Ministry of Mines. The use of the drill rigs will provide greater levels of certainty when providing the details of a site’s potential to bidders on a given tender. Surveys are underway at several sites to continue implementation of this training and data gathering.

Last updated: January 12, 2015

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