Afghanistan has extensive mineral deposits and potential for oil and gas production. Due to conflict, political instability and inadequate infrastructure, the extractive industries are relatively under-developed. In recent years, the country has seen increasing investor interest in exploration and development.
The Afghanistan Geological Survey identified six major metals and minerals opportunities in the country – copper, iron-ore, rare-earth metals, gold, gemstones and marble. Deposits have been estimated to be worth over USD 1 trillion.
Most gemstone mining is artisanal. Operations are small-scale and output is supplied mainly to local and regional markets.
Globally significant deposits include the copper deposit in Aynak, Logar province and iron-ore in Hajigak, Bamyam province. Consortiums of Chinese and Indian companies have signed contracts to develop these mines.
Developing transport infrastructure that would link deposits to global markets remains a challenge. Governance challenges, as well as the security situation, pose additional hindrance to the development of the sector.
With the launch on 16 September 2014 of the EITI report covering Solar Hejri year 1390, i.e. 20 March 2011-21 March 2012, Afghanistan EITI's work is currently geared towards transitioning to the EITI Standard. A three-year workplan has been drafted with assistance from the German GIZ but has not yet been published.
With the expected increase of revenues, it is significant that the government has committed to publish all mining, oil and gas contracts. Over 200 contracts have been published, including the Amu Darya oil, the Qara Zaghan gold and the West Garmak coal contracts.