Advisory body being created to manage mines: Saba
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Mines and Petroleum Minister on Wednesday said an advisory council would be created to manage the country’s mineral resources.
Explaining his ministry’s first 100-day plan, Daud Shah Saba said surveying mines’ security, reviewing the contract for the Mes Aynak copper mine and accelerating petroleum and gas projects had been given a priority in the 100-day plan.
Saba said the management and oversight of mineral extraction contracts, drafting amendments to the mining law, developing policies and rules, promoting technical capacity and information gathering of the ministry were part of the plan.
Saba said he would review the bidding process for the Zarkashan and Badakhshan gold mines as well as evaluate the contracts for gas and oil projects in the Amu River basin.
The oil and gas exploration contracts in the Afghan-Tajik basin in the north have been granted to three companies, a Turkish, an Arab and the Ghazanfar Group in 2013.
The oil and gas field is located between the north and northeastern Afghanistan along Takhar and Jawzjan provinces.
Saba also said a survey about the protection of mines would be conducted in coordination with the Ministry of Interior within the next 100 days.
He added 20 teams would be tasked with conducting the geological and natural resources study in the seven economical zones of the country.
During the study, the teams would collect samples of different mines for analysing and registering them in the database of the ministry, he said.
“Accelerating the process to clear Improvised Explosive Devices (IECs) from around the Mes Aynak copper mine, resuming technical and economic studies for the mine and evaluating its contract are included in the 100-day plan,” he said.
Discovered in 1974, the Mes Aynak mine is estimated to contain 12 million tonnes of copper. The government has awarded a contract to a Chinese firm called MCC, which will invest $5 billion in the mine’s development.
Saba added the procurement process of two gas wells in Yatim Tariq area of Shiberghan, the capital of Jawzjan province, would be accelerated.
He said digging projects in Juma area and reconstruction of two gas wells in Bashikord in Shiberghan and implementation of other similar projects would also be speeded up.
Measures to identify the locations of new natural resources and prevent illegal mining would be taken during the 100 days, he said.
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