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Mines sector can generate a million jobs

Mines sector can generate a million jobs

Feb 26, 2014 - 08:50

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Former minister of mines and petroleum Ibrahim Adil has said the mining sector of Afghanistaninfo-icon has greater potential that can generate one million jobs for the Afghan youth.

He expressed optimism that the country’s rich mine sector would ensure bolstering each and every sector of the country during the next 20 years but a proper administration was needed to protect the sector.

Adil served as deputy minister from 2006 to 2007 and then discharged his duties as minister of mines and petroleum ministry and worked in the same capacity by the end of 2009.

Among his achievements is the preparation of legal draft with regard of mining procedure in Afghanistan. He sought the help of American, European and Worldinfo-icon Bank advisors as well.

In his exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, the former minister viewed the current mining law draft imperfect which was in the parliament for debate. He said nonprofessional and inexpert individuals were involved to prepare the draft of the new law.

He underlined the need that the existing mining law should not be changed or replaced with the new one.

He said the current legal draft of mining sector is better than the drafts in the neighboring countries such as Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistaninfo-icon and matches the standards of European countries mining drafts.

The rich natural reservoirs of Afghanistan and its geopolitical location attract world countries which led to growing insurgency and instability in the country, he remarked.

He said mafia groups and foreign countries were trying to get maximum benefits by ignoring Afghans of the revenue of mining sector.

He said some officials preferred their personal interests over national interests for a few dollars but the valiant nation would not allow such people to plunder the national wealth mercilessly.

Internal and externalinfo-icon factors had left negative impact on the country’s mining sector, he said, underlining separate allocation of funds for exploration of mines in Afghanistan.

“We need to survey the volume of existing oil and gas reservoirs. The state should supervise awarding contracts to national and international companies. Weak mining’s strategies will negatively impact the country in the long,” he added.

Afghanistan has rich minerals of various kinds but extraction of coal and chromite should be given priority, which could be easily extracted, he said, adding its illegal extraction should be controlled.

He warned against extraction of coal reservoirs in a nonprofessional way, saying that once a mine was excavated in illegal way then it would become difficult to rehabilitate it. He said most of the times fire erupted inside a coalmine due to unprofessional methods which cost human lives.

Oil, gas and iron are among resources which do not need immediate extraction, he said, adding that “we need to pay attention to other resources that can easily be extracted such as coal and minerals.”

He said the government should step up efforts to attract investment in the country’s which would generate job opportunities on the one hand while on the other it would support national exchequer.

Afghanistan would achieve self reliance within next 20 years if the country’s natural reservoirs are properly excavated, he said, adding however, smuggling of precious stones was big blow to mining sector with the precious azure and emeraldwere being smuggled to India, Thailand and Philippine via Pakistan.

He believed azure used in the Egypt pyramids had been smuggled from Afghanistan some 5,000 years ago.

During his ministry, a separate market was allocated for precious stones such as azure and ruby for buying and selling, he said, adding that was helpful in controlling smuggling.

He said the president was requested repeatedly to help allocated funds for survey and machinery purchase, adding that $500 million was required in two or three years and the president was provided with all the relevant information.

“We still do not have exact information about our natural resources. First, we need to identify the total volume of our reserves and then invest accordingly,” he added.

At least one million individuals would get job opportunities if ministry of mines and petroleum can be made financially independent, he said, adding the ministry of mines should higher Afghan geologist to conduct survey of natural riches.

“Foreigners are not serious to extract our reserves for us and we need to recognize the fact now,” he added.



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