More focus on small mineral deposits, says minister
KABUL (Pajhwok): Mines Minister Duad Shah Saba on Sunday said the government would pay more attention to developing small mineral deposits over the next five years because it lacked the capacity to manage large mines.
Addressing a press conference here, Saba said they had been working to bring amendments the mines law, reform the rules, regulations and procedures to better utilise the country’s riches.
While insisting on small projects of mineral extractions, he said, currently Afghanistan lacked the capacity to think about big and complicated projects.
Jobs would be created and the capacity developed through the implementation of small projects over the next five years, he said.
“I favour the establishment of many small Afghan companies managed by Afghans to provide investment opportunities for big investors of the sector,” he said.
He said any mistake, if occurred in small projects, would have less impact than in big projects.
Mines Ministry spokesman Muhiuddin Noori said besides small projects, big projects such as the Ainak copper nine in Logar province, Hajigak iron mine in Bamyan and gas and fuel deposits in the Amu River basin would be implemented in accordance with the agreements.
Saba said Afghanistan needed more capital and advanced technology to benefit from the untapped wealth.
He said big companies were not interested to invest in the country’s mine sector and therefore they have to focus on capacity development.
In early 2016, Saba said they would discuss with local investors the establishment of extraction industries and then long term, medium and short term strategies and policies would be decided.
In the next two months, he said, two big cement deposits in Herat and Samangan provinces would be put on auction for bids and the projects would lead the country to realising self-sufficiency in cement.
The minister said they were working to amend the mines law, but it would take time in order to remove hurdles to investment in the mines sector and not to put in danger the benefits for the next generation,.
The work on reforms in the rules and regulations of his ministry has been 70 percent completed and the rest would be completed in six months.
There were no law and regulations in the sphere of coalmining, so they prepared a draft law on coal extraction and sent it to the Ministry of Justice for evaluation, he added.
For more transparency, he said, they were working to let people know how much was earned from minerals, how much a contract cost and how the revenue was used.
Due to some problems, Afghanistan could not present its three year report to the Transparency International, but they would present their report by the next summer, Saba said.
There were many ambiguities in the financial framework of the mines law and there was no explanation for entrepreneurs who had invested in the section because the sector was young, he said.
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