Illegal mining continues unabated: Analysts
KABUL (Pajhwok): Mining experts say substandard methods used to extract minerals have been resulting in their wastage and a low government’s income.
They believe the lack of government’s proper monitoring of extraction activities remains a big challenge preventing investment in the vital sector.
Javed Noorani, a mining expert, told Pajhwok Afghan News substandard excavations of mines continued unabated in the country.
Pointing to chromite, coal and marble extractions, Noorani said: “The excavation standards vary from mine to mine and every mine needs a thorough study in advance.”
“Minerals extraction techniques, their transfer and processing are equally important and needs attention,” he added.
Expressing his concerns over the processing of minerals, he said, it remained unclear as to which extent the specific standards have been included in contracts between the government and the extraction companies.
The contracting company has taken away gold from the Baghlan Qarghadaghan gold mine with support from Polish and Russian geologists, he claimed, adding nothing was left in the mine.
Regarding gold mines in Nooraba and Simty areas of northern Takhar province, he said: “The gold there is mined illegally by the contractor.”
The extraction contract of these gold mines has been given to the Westland General Trading, a domestic and foreign company.
Ahmad Zia, an engineer with the company, denied they mined the gold illegally or unprofessionally. “The extraction is ongoing based on modern international standards. Most of the experts working in these mines have the experience of working in foreign countries,” he added.
Ibrahim Jafari, a geologist, also said old and substandard methods of mining continued to taking place in Afghanistan.
“The government is not taking serious the issue of mineral extractions because so far no contract has been nullified for substandard activities,” he said, adding the Ministry of Mines was yet to study a single mine.
Najmuddin Tareen, Afghanistan Academy of Sciences deputy head, said if mines were professionally excavated, it would increase the government’s income.
He was concerned about the current quality of excavations. “The situation currently being faced by the private sector causes more damage to mines than generating income.”
He said if the current situation prolonged, it would lead to a sudden disappearance of minerals. He suggested an overall study should take place before signing a contract and the private sector should use latest technology.
But Mines Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Rafi Siddiqui rejected the claims of analysts.
He said all professional standards had been considered in the previous and the new mining laws. He said there would be no problem unresolved in the sector if the new law was fully implemented.
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