Mapping Afghanistan’s untapped natural resources | Infographic News


Deep beneath the bottom in one of many world’s poorest nations sits at the least $1 trillion of untapped mineral resources, in accordance with a report revealed by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum [PDF]. The South Asian nation of 38 million individuals is estimated to carry greater than 2.2 billion tonnes of iron ore, 1.3 billion tonnes of marble and 1.4 million tonnes of uncommon earth minerals.

According to Scott Montgomery, a geologist who has studied the extent of Afghanistan’s resources, the nation requires a minimal of seven to 10 years to develop large-scale mining to change into a significant income.

Poor safety, weak laws and corruption have prevented the event of the mining sector.

What lies beneath the bottom?

During the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies the USSR and its Eastern European allies carried out in depth surveys of the nation’s geological resources. However, many years of struggle meant that the majority resources remained buried.

In 2010, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) along with Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS) carried out essentially the most complete geological survey of the nation figuring out 24 particular areas of curiosity (AOI) throughout Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

The areas of curiosity are colour-coded on the map under. They embrace: precious metallic reserves (inexperienced), constructing materials reserves (yellow), industrial mineral reserves (purple) and areas with oil and gasoline (crimson).

(Al Jazeera)

Valuable metals

Iron is essentially the most ample of Afghanistan’s precious metals. The whole iron ore reserve is estimated to be 2.2 billion metric tonnes, inserting Afghanistan among the many prime 10 nations in extractable iron.

The Hajigak mine situated within the mountainous Bamyan province, 130km (80 miles) west of Kabul, has the most important iron ore deposit within the area with 1.7 billion tonnes of high-grade ore at 63-69 p.c iron.

To put that in context, 2.2 billion tonnes of iron ore might be used to assemble at the least 200,000 replicas of Paris’s Eiffel Tower – the enduring monument which stands at 324m (1,063 toes) and was constructed from 7,300 tonnes of iron in 1889.

The nation can also be estimated to have 183 million tonnes of aluminum deposits discovered primarily in Badakhshan and Kandahar provinces. The light-weight metallic is the second most used metallic globally, behind solely iron.

Afghanistan additionally holds an estimated 2,698kg of gold deposits alongside two fundamental gold belts: Badakhshan southwest to Takhar and Ghazni southwest to Zabul. This quantity of gold can mint at the least 300,000 gold pound cash every weighing eight grams.

(Al Jazeera)

Building supplies

Afghanistan is the eighth most mountainous nation on this planet making many elements tough to entry. The Hindu Kush Himalayas span the northeast of the landlocked nation and comprise varied minerals and stones together with marble, limestone and sandstone that are used broadly in building.

Marble is a flexible rock generally utilized in structure and sculpture. The nation yields a powerful 1.3 billion tonnes of the attractive constructing stone which is sufficient marble to construct 13,000 Washington Monuments – standing at 169m (555 ft) tall and 17m (55 toes) huge. Nangarhar province which borders Pakistan is thought for its pink onyx marble which is among the many most sought-after within the area.

Limestone and sandstone are frequent kinds of sedimentary rock used broadly in building. Limestone is a vital part of cement and is a significant ingredient in family merchandise equivalent to toothpaste and paint.

Afghanistan is estimated to have at the least 500 million tonnes of limestone discovered primarily within the provinces of Badakhshan, Herat and Baghlan.

(Al Jazeera)

Industrial minerals

Afghanistan was traditionally one of many world’s premier sources of lapis lazuli, emeralds and rubies. Most of the gem stones are discovered within the northeast of the nation.

Afghanistan has an estimated 1.4 million tonnes of uncommon earth minerals together with lithium (utilized in batteries), uranium (used for nuclear gas) and lots of others. One of the most important deposits of uncommon earth minerals might be discovered at Khanneshin in Helmand province.

The nation additionally has an estimated 152 million tonnes of barite, a colourless mineral generally utilized by the oil and gasoline business in drilling.

(Al Jazeera)

Exports and buying and selling companions

According to The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), Afghanistan’s whole exports in 2019 reached $2.24bn.

The prime three classes had been:

  1. Precious metals, gems and jewelry: 45 p.c ($1 billion)
  2. Fruits and nuts, peel of citrus fruit: 24 p.c ($538 million)
  3. Vegetables, sure roots and tubers: 8 p.c ($177 million)
(Al Jazeera)

In 2019, Afghanistan exported greater than 90 p.c of its merchandise to solely three nations – 45 p.c to the UAE, adopted by 24 p.c to neighbouring Pakistan and 22 p.c to India.

Since the Taliban seized management of the nation on August 15, 2021, Western states have severely restricted their assist funds to the nation.

On September 2, the Taliban mentioned that the group would rely totally on financing from China which already holds a number of long-term mining leases across the nation.

(Al Jazeera)