Mining in Afghanistan

Mining in Afghanistan

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It is estimated that forty million years ago the tectonic plates of India-Europe, Asia and Africa collided in a massive upheaval. This upheaval created the region of towering mountains that now includes Afghanistan. That process also deposited vast amounts of minerals, including gold, copper, lithium, iron ore, cobalt, natural gas and oil in a country later written off as wartorn and poverty stricken, Afghanistan's resources could make it the richest mining region on earth.

As of 2006, "the mineral resources of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 were relatively underexplored from a global perspective. The country has extensive deposits of barite
Barite
Baryte, or barite, is a mineral consisting of barium sulfate. The baryte group consists of baryte, celestine, anglesite and anhydrite. Baryte itself is generally white or colorless, and is the main source of barium...

, chromite
Chromite
Chromite is an iron chromium oxide: FeCr2O4. It is an oxide mineral belonging to the spinel group. Magnesium can substitute for iron in variable amounts as it forms a solid solution with magnesiochromite ; substitution of aluminium occurs leading to hercynite .-Occurrence:Chromite is found in...

, coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, iron ore, lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

, precious and semiprecious stones, salt
Salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

, sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

, talc
Talc
Talc is a mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate with the chemical formula H2Mg34 or Mg3Si4O102. In loose form, it is the widely-used substance known as talcum powder. It occurs as foliated to fibrous masses, its crystals being so rare as to be almost unknown...

, and zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

. Precious and semiprecious stones include high-quality emerald
Emerald
Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl colored green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the 10 point Mohs scale of mineral hardness...

, lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli is a relatively rare semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue color....

, red garnet
Garnet
The garnet group includes a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. The name "garnet" may come from either the Middle English word gernet meaning 'dark red', or the Latin granatus , possibly a reference to the Punica granatum , a plant with red seeds...

 and ruby
Ruby
A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum . The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires...

. Ongoing instability in certain areas of the country, the country’s remote and rugged terrain, and an inadequate infrastructure
Infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

 and transportation network have made mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 these deposits difficult.
Afghanistan’s mining industry currently uses primitive methods and outdated equipment and some of the country's approximately 200 mines are still under the control of local warlords as of 2006. Production data for mineral commodities were not readily available as of 2006."

Afghanistan has 89 rich mineral fields with an easy extraction and utilisation possibility, according to information published by Persian Encyclopedia of Economics and Management. Based on the information most of Afghan mines are still intact. With the biggest rich mines of lapis, gold, turquoise, coal, copper, iron, barite and as well as oil and gas fields Afghanistan is one of the countries with the richest and biggest intact mines in the world. There are six big lapis mines in Afghanistan with the biggest one located in northern Badakhshan province. Badakhshan is also home to one of the biggest gold mines in the country. Based on the information there are around 12 copper mines in Afghanistan including the Aynak copper deposit located in Logar province. Afghanistan's significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes the possible construction of oil and natural gas export pipelines through Afghanistan.

History


Lapis lazuli was being mined in the Badakhshan
Badakhshan
Badakhshan is an historic region comprising parts of what is now northeastern Afghanistan and southeastern Tajikistan. The name is retained in Badakhshan Province which is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, in the far northeast of Afghanistan, and contains the Wakhan Corridor...

 province of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 as early as the 3rd millenium BC In ancient Egypt, lapis lazuli was a favorite stone for amulets and ornaments such as scarabs and was used in Egypt’s pyramids; it was also used in ancient Mesopotamia by the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians for seals
Cylinder seal
A cylinder seal is a cylinder engraved with a 'picture story', used in ancient times to roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface, generally wet clay. Cylinder seals were invented around 3500 BC in the Near East, at the contemporary site of Susa in south-western Iran and at the early site...

 and at neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 burials in Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh , one of the most important Neolithic sites in archaeology, lies on the "Kachi plain" of Balochistan, Pakistan...

. During the height of the Indus valley civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 about 2000 BC, the Harappan colony now known as Shortugai
Shortugai
Shortugai was an Indus civilization trading colony established about 2000 BC on the Oxus river near the lapis mines in northern Afghanistan. According to Sergent, "not one of the standard characteristics of the Harappan cultural complex is missing from it".The town consists of two hills called A...

 was established near the lapis mines... Lapis jewelry has been found at excavations of the Predynastic Egypt
Predynastic Egypt
The Prehistory of Egypt spans the period of earliest human settlement to the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt in ca. 3100 BC, starting with King Menes/Narmer....

ian site Naqada
Naqada
Naqada is a town on the west bank of the Nile in the Egyptian governorate of Qena. It was known in Ancient Egypt as Nubt and in classical antiquity as Ombos. Its name derives from ancient Egyptian nub, meaning gold, on account of the proximity of gold mines in the Eastern Desert.Naqada comprises...

 (3300–3100 BC), and powdered lapis was used as eyeshadow by Cleopatra. In ancient Mesopotamia, Lapis artifacts can be found in great abundance, with many notable examples having been excavated at the Royal Cemetery of Ur
Ur
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate...

 (2600-2500 BC).

The mine of Aynak’s copper has more than 2,000 years of history, from the coins and the tools that were found there.
The gold of Zarkashan has more than 2,000 years of history in Ghazni Province.

Afghanistan's ruby/spinel mines were mentioned in the Arabic writings of many early travellers, including Istakhri (951 AD), Ibn Haukal (978 AD), al-Ta'Alibi (961–1038 AD), al-Muqaddasi (ca 10th century), al-Biruni (b. 973; d. ca 1050 AD), Teifaschi (1240 AD), and Ibn Battuta (1325–1354 AD).

Legal framework


A new mining law was passed in 2006 and as of 2006 regulations were being developed to provide the framework for more formal exploration for and mining of minerals. The process of applying for mineral rights was also being revised as of 2006. All minerals located on or under the surface are the exclusive property of the Government, except for hydrocarbons and water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, which are regulated under separate laws. The principal role of the Government with respect to minerals is to promote the efficient development of the mineral industry by the private sector. The Ministry of Mines and Industries is responsible for the administration and implementation of the Mining Law. The Law provides investment security to the holder of a mineral right. The Government cannot expropriate mineral rights without adequate compensation in accordance with international norms. The Law also gives the mineral royalty
Royalties
Royalties are usage-based payments made by one party to another for the right to ongoing use of an asset, sometimes an intellectual property...

 rates, which range from 5% of gross revenue for industrial minerals to up to 10% for gemstone
Gemstone
A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments...

s. Other changes in Government policy in 2006 included the legalization of the gemstone trade, Government control of the gemstone industry, and encouragement of investment in mining.

Security


The Afghan Ministry of Mines has established a 7000-strong Mining Protection Unit, in addition to other national security forces.

Major findings, 2010


In 2010, a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists discovered about $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials. According to other reports the total mineral riches of Afghanistan may be worth over $3 trillion US dollars. "The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

, gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, and critical industrial metals like lithium
Lithium
Lithium is a soft, silver-white metal that belongs to the alkali metal group of chemical elements. It is represented by the symbol Li, and it has the atomic number 3. Under standard conditions it is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. Like all alkali metals, lithium is highly...

 — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world". Ghazni Province
Ghazni Province
Ghazni is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. Babur records in his Babur-Nama that Ghazni is also known as Zabulistan It is in the east of the country. Its capital is Ghazni City...

 may hold the world's largest lithium reserves.

The deposits were already described in the USGS report on Afghanistan issued in 2007. President Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai, GCMG is the 12th and current President of Afghanistan, taking office on 7 December 2004. He became a dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001...

 remarked "Whereas Saudi Arabia is the oil capital of the world, Afghanistan will be the lithium capital of the world." Deposits in the United States and Canada which need mining operations similar to those necessary for the deposits in Afghanistan went out of production due to cheaper production from lithium containing brines. Afghanistan invited 200 global companies for the development of its mines.

Rare earth elements


According to a September 2011 US Geological Survey estimate, the Khanashin carbonatites in southern Helmand Province
Helmand Province
Helmand is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Lashkar Gah. The Helmand River flows through the mainly desert region, providing water for irrigation....

 have an estimated 1 million metric tonnes of rare earth element
Rare earth element
As defined by IUPAC, rare earth elements or rare earth metals are a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium...

s. Regina Dubey, Acting Director for the Department of Defence Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) stated that "this is just one more piece of evidence that Afghanistan's mineral sector has a bright future."

Copper


No copper mines were active in the country in 2006. In the past, copper had been mined from Herat Province
Herat Province
Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan; together with Badghis, Farah, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country...

 and Farah Province
Farah Province
Farah is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the southwest of the country. Its capital is Farah. Farah is a spacious and sparsely populated province that lies on the Iranian border...

 in the west, Kapisa Province
Kapisa Province
Kapisa is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north-east of the country. Its capital is Mahmud-i-Raqi, and other districts include Kohistan, Nijrab and Tagab. The population of Kapisa is estimated to be 364,900, although there has never been an official estimate...

 in the east, and Kandahar Province
Kandahar Province
Kandahar or Qandahar is one of the largest of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is located in southern Afghanistan, between Helmand, Oruzgan and Zabul provinces. Its capital is the city of Kandahar, which is located on the Arghandab River. The province has a population of nearly...

 and Zabul Province
Zabul Province
Zabul is a historic province of Afghanistan. Zabul became an independent province from neighbouring Kandahar in 1963, with Qalat being named the provincial capital. It should not be confused with the city Zabol, on the Iranian side of the border with Afghanistan.- Political and security situation...

 in the south. As of 2006, interest was focused on the Aynak, the Darband
Darband
Darband may refer to:* Darband, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a Union Council of Mansehra District, Pakistan* Darband , a town or district in Tajikistan's Region of Republican Subordination* Darband , a village attached to Iran's capital Tehran...

, and the Jawkhar prospects in southeastern Afghanistan. Copper mineralization at Aynak in Logar Province was stratabound and characterized by bornite
Bornite
Bornite is a sulfide mineral with chemical composition Cu5FeS4 that crystallizes in the orthorhombic system .-Appearance:Bornite has a brown to copper-red color on fresh surfaces that tarnishes to various iridescent shades of blue to purple in places...

 and chalcopyrite
Chalcopyrite
Chalcopyrite is a copper iron sulfide mineral that crystallizes in the tetragonal system. It has the chemical composition CuFeS2. It has a brassy to golden yellow color and a hardness of 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale. Its streak is diagnostic as green tinged black.On exposure to air, chalcopyrite...

 disseminated in dolomite marble and quartz-biotite-dolomite schists of the Loy Khwar Formation. Although a resource of 240 million metric tons at a grade of 2.3% copper had been reported, a number of small ore lenses were potentially not practically and economically minable. Open pit and underground mining would be needed to exploit the main ore body, and other infrastructure problems, such as inadequate power and water, were also likely. The new (2005) Mining Law might favor the development of the deposit by using public tenders. The Government issued a public tender for the deposit in 2006 with a deadline of October 28, 2006, and expected the granting of concessions in February 2007. Nine mining companies from Australia, China, India, and the United States were interested in the prospect.

China Metallurgical Group won the bidding for a copper mining project in Aybak
Aybak
Izz al-Din AybakThe name Aybeg or Aybak is a combination of two Turkic words, "Ay" = Moon and "Beg" or variant "Bak" = Emir in Arabic. - Izz al-Din AybakThe name Aybeg or Aybak is a combination of two Turkic words, "Ay" = Moon and "Beg" or variant "Bak" = Emir in Arabic. -(Al-Maqrizi, Note...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. The bidding process has been criticized by rival Canadian and U.S. companies alleging corruption and questioning the Chinese company's commitment to the Afghan people.

Gold


As of 2006, gold was mined from the Samti placer deposit in Takhar Province
Takhar Province
Takhār is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It was established in 1964 when Qataghan Province was divided into three provinces: Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar. It is in the north-east of the country. Its capital is Taloqan. Its salt mines are one of Afghanistan's major mineral resources...

 in the north by groups of artisanal miners. Badakhshan Province
Badakhshan Province
Badakhshan is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, consisting of 28 districts. It is located in the north-east of the country, between the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya. It is part of the Badakhshan region.-Geography:...

 also had occurrences of placer gold deposits. The deposits were found on the western flanks of the mountains in alluvium or alluvial fan in several river valleys, particularly in the Anjir, the Hasar, the Nooraba, and the Panj Valleys. The Samti deposit is located in the Panj River Valley and was estimated to contain between 20 and 25 metric tons of gold. Alluvial gold An estimated $30 billion in gold and copper deposits in the Zana Khan, an area of the Zarkashan skarn deposit in Ghazni province.

Iron Ore


The best known and largest iron oxide deposit in Afghanistan is located at Hajigak in Bamyan Province. The deposit itself stretches over 32 km and contains 16 separate zones, up to 5 km in length, 380 m wide and extending 550 m down dip, seven of which have been studied in detail. The ore occurs in both primary and oxidized states. The primary ore accounts for 80% of the deposit and consists of magnetite
Magnetite
Magnetite is a ferrimagnetic mineral with chemical formula Fe3O4, one of several iron oxides and a member of the spinel group. The chemical IUPAC name is iron oxide and the common chemical name is ferrous-ferric oxide. The formula for magnetite may also be written as FeO·Fe2O3, which is one part...

, pyrite
Pyrite
The mineral pyrite, or iron pyrite, is an iron sulfide with the formula FeS2. This mineral's metallic luster and pale-to-normal, brass-yellow hue have earned it the nickname fool's gold because of its resemblance to gold...

 and minor chalcopyrite
Chalcopyrite
Chalcopyrite is a copper iron sulfide mineral that crystallizes in the tetragonal system. It has the chemical composition CuFeS2. It has a brassy to golden yellow color and a hardness of 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale. Its streak is diagnostic as green tinged black.On exposure to air, chalcopyrite...

. The remaining 20% is oxidized and consists of three hematitic ore types. The deposit remained unmined in 2006. The presence of coking coal nearby at Shabashak in the Dar-l-Suf District and large iron ore resources made the deposit viable for future development of an Afghan steel industry. Open pit mining and blast furnace smelting operations were envisioned by an early feasibility study.

Gemstones


Afghanistan is known to have exploited its precious and semiprecious gemstone deposits. These deposits include aquamarine, emerald
Emerald
Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl colored green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the 10 point Mohs scale of mineral hardness...

, fluorite
Fluorite
Fluorite is a halide mineral composed of calcium fluoride, CaF2. It is an isometric mineral with a cubic habit, though octahedral and more complex isometric forms are not uncommon...

, garnet
Garnet
The garnet group includes a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. The name "garnet" may come from either the Middle English word gernet meaning 'dark red', or the Latin granatus , possibly a reference to the Punica granatum , a plant with red seeds...

, kunzite, ruby
Ruby
A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum . The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires...

, sapphire
Sapphire
Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide , when it is a color other than red or dark pink; in which case the gem would instead be called a ruby, considered to be a different gemstone. Trace amounts of other elements such as iron, titanium, or chromium can give...

, semiprecious lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli is a relatively rare semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue color....

, topaz
Topaz
Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminium and fluorine with the chemical formula Al2SiO42. Topaz crystallizes in the orthorhombic system and its crystals are mostly prismatic terminated by pyramidal and other faces.-Color and varieties:...

, tourmaline
Tourmaline
Tourmaline is a crystal boron silicate mineral compounded with elements such as aluminium, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, or potassium. Tourmaline is classified as a semi-precious stone and the gem comes in a wide variety of colors...

, and varieties of quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

. The four main gemstone-producing areas are those of Badakhshan, Jegdalek, Nuristan, and the Panjshir Valley
Panjshir Valley
The Panjshir Province is a valley in north-central Afghanistan, 150 km north of Kabul, near the Hindu Kush mountain range. Located in the Panjshir Province it is divided by the Panjshir River...

. Artisanal mining of gemstones in the country used primitive methods. Some gemstones were exported illicitly, mostly to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 (which was the world’s leading import market for colored gemstones and an outlet for higher quality gems) and to the domestic Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 market.

Petroleum and natural gas


According to reports, 1.8 billion barrels of oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

 was discovered between Balkh
Balkh Province
Balkh is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country and its name derives from the ancient city of Balkh, near the modern town...

 and Jawzjan Province in the north of the country. This is an enormous amount for a nation that only consumes 5,000 bbl/day. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Industry
Council of Ministers (Afghanistan)
The Council of Ministers was the governmental organ in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and later the Republic of Afghanistan. The leader of the Council of Ministers choose ministers for the different ministeral posts in the country. Under the leadership of Nur Mohammad Taraki, Hafizullah...

 jointly assessed the oil and natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 resources in northern Afghanistan. The estimated mean volumes of undiscovered petroleum were 1,596 million barrels (Mbbl) of crude oil, 444 billion cubic meters of natural gas, and 562 Mbbl of natural gas liquids. Most of the undiscovered crude oil occurs in the Afghan-Tajik Basin and most of the undiscovered natural gas is located in the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

Basin. These two basins within Afghanistan encompass areas of approximately 515,000 square kilometers.

Further reading


External links