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Embassy Press Releases


October 10, 2007



Joshua Gross, The Embassy of Afghanistan


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Stephen Peters, USGS


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USGS and the Government of Afghanistan Unveil Non-Fuel Mineral Resource Assessment of Afghanistan

Reston, VA – The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) unveiled today at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. the 2007 preliminary assessment of non-fuel mineral resources of Afghanistan, which will provide valuable new information to the global business and mining communities. USGS scientists worked cooperatively with the Afghanistan Geological Survey of the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines, between 2004 and 2007, to compile existing information about known mineral deposits and evaluate the possible occurrence of undiscovered deposits of non-fuel mineral resources. The USGS assessment results will be used as a foundation for future work on areas of mineral resource potential and in rebuilding Afghanistan's natural resources sector. 

“Mineral resource assessments provide government decision makers and potential private investors with objective, unbiased information on where undiscovered mineral resources may be located, what kinds of resources are likely to occur, and how much of each mineral commodity may exist in them,” said USGS Director Mark Myers.

Estimates for copper and iron ore resources were found to have the most potential for extraction. Scientists also found sufficient amounts of colored stones and gemstones, including emerald, ruby, sapphire, garnet, lapis, kunzite, spinel, tourmaline, and peridot deposits. Other examples of mineral resources available for extraction in Afghanistan include gold, mercury, sulfur, chromite, talc-magnesite, potash, graphite, and sand and gravel.

“Afghanistan’s natural resources have a quality comparable to the highest-class minerals of the entire region. We are grateful to the efforts of USGS and our Ministry of Mines in allowing global investors an opportunity to receive the latest information on its assessment for more informed business decisions,” said Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Said T. Jawad.

The majority of information on Afghanistan’s mineral resources was produced between the early 1950’s and about 1985. However, during the intermittent conflict over the next two decades, much of that data was hidden and protected by Afghan scientists. After 2001, this valuable data was returned to the Afghan government, and the USGS gathered new data and identified additional information in locations outside of Afghanistan.

The USGS has also been working with the government of Afghanistan since 2003 to provide an earthquake hazards assessment released on May 30, 2007, and an oil and gas resources assessment of the nation issued in March 2006.  A major objective of these assessments has been training of Afghan geoscientists in the collection and interpretation of relevant data. 

The USGS was commissioned by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to develop this assessment. Results of the nation’s non-fuel mineral resource assessment are available at the USGS Afghanistan website and at the Afghanistan Geological Survey website

Interest in the non-fuel mineral resource assessment is building and will be highlighted at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver, Oct. 28-31, 2007.

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