Stucco, chalk illegally excavated in Kandahar
KANDAHAR (PAN): A large number of separate groups of people have started illegally excavating stucco and chalk in huge quantity in Daman district of southern Kandahar province, with the government doing nothing to prevent the looting, an official said Saturday.
Eng. Mohammad Sadiq, provincial mining control chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News the mines in northern parts of Daman produced around 22,242 cubic metres stucco a year.
Some 30 different groups of individuals have been evacuating and shifting the stucco, used as decorative coating for walls and ceilings, to the bazaar for sale.
The official said area people too excavated the mine but they paid the government 50 afghanis per one cubic metre, deploring the government was yet to award a contract for the mines’ legal excavations to a company.
Promising efforts for legalizing the mining, Sadiq said a group of geologists from Kabul had recently surveyed the sites, where almost all mining activities were found unauthorised.
Abdul Baseer, a resident of Daman, said he had started digging a small part of the mine and had hired ten workers for the job.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News “digging stucco is a very simple job. Everyone can do it. We dig one or two metres deep into the earth and take the material to kilns for baking.” They exported the baked stucco to Pakistan and to several provinces.
Abdul Jabbar, another local, said he owned a kiln, where stucco was brought in 50 small vehicles each carrying up to eight tonnes of stucco for processing purpose.
“When stucco is baked in the kiln, the material, which can be carried by a Mazda type vehicle, is sold for 3,000 afghanis. Our customers transport it to cities where they sell the same quantity for 6,000 afghanis,” he added.
A mine worker, Alam Gul, complained their work involved no formal procedure. “Stucco is discovered when we dig one or two metres into the earth. Then we transport the render to kilns.”
The labourer said if the whole process of mining was carried out in a proper way and legalised, it would help boost their living standards.
“Stucco is a hard stone used in constructing concrete buildings and houses. It keeps rooms warm in winter and cold in summer, if applied,” he concluded.
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