The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Private companies to extract gold, copper mines

Sentar and Gomoz private companies would invest multimillion dollars for extraction of gold in Badakhshan and copper in Balkhaab of Sar-i-Pul provinces.
According to a presidential statement, the contracts on these two mines were confirmed after assessments of inter-ministerial committee of Ministries of Mines and Petroleum, Education and Finance.
The statement adds that these two private companies are technically eligible and after signing the contracts financial guarantee will be taken.
Talking to media, spokesman of the MoMP Abdul Qadeer Mutfi said, offering of contracts has taken place in a transparent manner and these two private companies are expected to invest multi-million dollars there and provide employment opportunities for dozens of people.
According to Mutfi, exploration and exploitation contracts of gold mine have been offered to a private Afghan-Turk company for 30 years and totally US$ 70m will be invested in above two stages, but likely the investment would increase according to need.
He added, contract on extraction of Balkhaab copper was given to Afghan Mines and Gold private company for 30 years and US $ 61m would be invested there.
In its website, the Gomoz Co has written that the copper mine in Balkhaab district, Sar-e-Pul province contains an area of about 500 square kilo meters and over 100 million tons of copper.
These two contracts have been offered by the Afghan government while in the past SIGAR had several times reported on illegal mines extraction and corruption in mines contracts. Based on SIGAR report, only in 2015 about 2000 tons of Lapis at a cost of US $ 60m-120m were illegally extracted in Badakhshan.
Beside corruption and improper investment conditions, security threat is another major challenge that have always prevent implementation of mines extraction projects in Afghanistan.
In the last over one and half decade, the Afghan government has held tens mines extraction contracts with domestic and foreign private companies but most of them have been facing legal, technical or economic problems.
At the same time the Afghan experts said that a number of those mines extraction contracts remain on paper due to different reasons or the concerned companies stop operation on mines.
Economist Sher Ali Tazri said a number of these companies consider insecurity as an important reason of stopping work. Insecurity is really an urgent issue.
In my opinion, security measures should be earlier taken on mine extraction sties. Corruption and powerful local individual are other threats.
Shukria Kohistani

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.