Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

MoMP Poised to Open Key Mines to Private Bids

MoMP Poised to Open  Key Mines to Private Bids

KABUL -  The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) is all set to initiate bidding process for private investment on several key mining projects, an official said on Monday.
The projects include Herat Cement, establishment of third Ghori Cement Factory, Ghazni Zarkhashan Gold, talc mine of Nangarhar and Nooraba and samti Gold mine in Takhar province.
Abdul Qadir Mutfi, MoMP spokesman while referring to the new projects, said: “We feel proud that an opportunity for private sector investment is provided in the country’s mining sector.”
“They are all those projects which had been earlier announced at an international conference in Dubai and it was promised that these projects would be opened to bidding,” he said.
Cement Projects
According to Mutfi, a total of $300 million investment is expected in Herat Cement, Kandahari Cement and the establishment of Ghori Cement’s third factory, adding that $150 million investment each was being considered in the three projects.
He said the bidding process of these projects might take place in the near future.
He said 1,500 to 2,500 people would get direct work opportunity while thousands others would get indirect jobs opportunities from these projects.
Without going into details, the MoMP spokesman said over ten local and foreign companies had shown interest in investment in these projects.
Herat Cement
According to Pajhwok report, the Herat cement reservoir is among the largest in Zendajan area of Herat City.
The type of cement in the mine is called polyethylene cement which is ranked among top quality cements.
Mutfi said the factory to be established in Zendajan district would produce up to 3,000 tonnes of cement in initial stages but with the passage of time the production would be doubled.
The contract of Zendajan Cement factory was inked in 1977 during the government of Sardar Daud Khan with Czechoslovakia but due to the war and termination of Daud’s government, the project could not be implemented.
In a fresh attempt, an Iranian Company Peshgaman Sunaat Mujd pledged to revive the factory with $150 million investment but after one year of signing the agreement, the company could not start work and thus the contract was revoked.
Ghori-III Cement Factory
The first Ghori Cement Factory was established in Pul-i-Khumri, the capital of northern Baghlan province, in 1960 and made functional in 1963.
The foundation stone of second Ghori Cement Factory was laid in 1977 but after one year work, the factory was stopped due to war. During the Taliban regime, the second Ghori Cement factory became dysfunctional but in 2003 it was made functional again.
The MoMP spokesman said looking to the capacity of Ghori I and Ghori II, it was decided to establish Ghori III factory as well.
Zarkashan Gold Mine
According to Pajhwok reports, the Zarkashan Gold Mine is situated 90 kilometres from Ghazni City in Muqar district and it is spread over 484 square kilometres area.
A research conducted by German and US geologists in 1960 and 1973, showed that 7,500 kilogrames of gold existed in the reservoir.
Nooraba and Samti Gold
Reports show this mine is situated in Nooraba and samti village 10 kilo meters north of Chah Ab district in northern Takhar province and was discovered by the Soviet Union experts back in 1987.
The exploration contract of this mine was inked between the MoMP and the West Land General Trading in 2009 and the work kicked off.
In 2013, Pajhwok learnt that this contract maintained some handicaps including  lack of transparency, contradiction with the mining law, the element of friendship in awarding contract, and the transfer of gold outside the country for processing purpose.
The MoMP in 2018 revoked the contract based on the Procurement Commission decision following the fulfillment of obligation including the payment of liabilities, exploration and environmental responsibilities on contract holders side.
According to MoMP, the contracts of the Zarkashan, NoorabaSamti Gold mines would be open to bidding next months, adding that no company has so far showed interest in investing in these mining.
Talc Mine in Achin
Talc mine is situated in Achin district of Nangarhar province and was discovered by Afghan and Russian engineers some 50 years back.  The deposit contains over 11 million tonnes of talc.
This stone is used in over 200 different areas including medicine making, foods and cosmetics.
Mutfi said a number of companies had shown to invest up to $15 million in the talc mine exploration.
He added Afghan Talc, Kord Releas, Karimzai Group, Sardar Mustafa, Habib Shahb and Nabi Afghan companies had so far offered to invest.
He said the Achin talc mine would generate 500 direct jobs and over 1,000 indirect jobs.
Public welcoming reaction
Some residents believe that investment in mining projects could leave positive impact on current situation and would generate jobs for hundreds of youth.
Mohammad Rahim Malakzai, a resident of Kabul City, said the creation of jobs would help peace and stability and therefor these projects in current circumstances would prove crucial.
Abdul Rauf Benawa, another resident, said the MoMP move to launch six mining project was admirable and added the ministry should consider the interest of people and government during the tender of these projects.
Mutfi said implementation of the projects would with consent of the Cabinet and the High Council of Economic Affairs.
He added environmental protection, safety, health issues and social services were basic standards of the projects. (Pajhwok)