Finance Ministry receives $52 million grant from World Bank
The Second Sustainable Development of Natural Resources Project will assist Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines (MoM) and the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) to further improve their ability to develop and regulate Afghanistan’s mineral and energy resources as international interest in Afghanistan’s rich mineral potential increases, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
The statement quoted Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal as saying that developing Afghanistan’s natural resources in an open, transparent and efficient manner was a top priority on the government’s agenda.
“The government remains committed to ensuring the country’s rich mineral potential is managed according to internationally accepted norms and procedures for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan," he said.
Doing so will enable the government to complete the process of international competitive bidding for the Hajigak mine.
The Ministry will support the development of comprehensive regulations for complex activities in the mining and hydrocarbon sectors, and building the capacity of the government to regulate and monitor compliance.
The Ministry said the project would help recover and preserve some of the artifacts and antiquities at the Mes Aynak archeological site by supporting the implementation of the Archaeological Recovery and Preservation Plan for the Aynak antiques.
“Mining is a very important driver for the Afghan economy, including for employment generation,” said Waheedullah Shahrani, Minister of Mines. “We are currently streamlining the mining law and taking steps to introduce greater transparency. In the last twelve months, significant progress has been made in reforming and restructuring the Ministry of Mines with special emphasis on introducing transparent practices. Recently, measures have also been taken to integrate mining projects with other major infrastructure developments in the country to ensure sustainability and long-term growth,” he said.
The project is a continuation of the 2006 First Sustainable Development of Natural Resources Project which was supported by a World Bank grant of $30 million.
An additional grant of $10 million was added to that project in 2010, the Finance Ministry said.
With that project, the government successfully completed the bidding process for the Aynak copper deposit, the first international, transparent and competitive mineral bidding process to take place in Afghanistan.
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