(MENAFN - Daily Outlook Afghanistan) KABUL - The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) isall set to initiate bidding process for private investment on several keymining projects, an official said on Monday.
The projects include HeratCement, 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, MoMPspokesman while referring to the new projects, said: 'We feel proud that anopportunity for private sector investment is provided in the country's miningsector.
'They are all those projectswhich had been earlier announced at an international conference in Dubai and itwas promised that these projects would be opened to bidding, he said.
According to Mutfi, a total of$300 million investment is expected in Herat Cement, Kandahari Cement and theestablishment of Ghori Cement's third factory, adding that $150 millioninvestment each was being considered in the three projects.
He said the bidding process ofthese projects might take place in the near future.
He said 1,500 to 2,500 peoplewould get direct work opportunity while thousands others would get indirectjobs opportunities from these projects.
Without going into details, theMoMP spokesman said over ten local and foreign companies had shown interest ininvestment in these projects.
According to Pajhwok report,the Herat cement reservoir is among the largest in Zendajan area of Herat City.
The type of cement in the mineis called polyethylene cement which is ranked among top quality cements.
Mutfi said the factory to beestablished in Zendajan district would produce up to 3,000 tonnes of cement ininitial stages but with the passage of time the production would be doubled.
The contract of Zendajan Cementfactory was inked in 1977 during the government of Sardar Daud Khan withCzechoslovakia but due to the war and termination of Daud's government, theproject could not be implemented.
In a fresh attempt, an IranianCompany Peshgaman Sunaat Mujd pledged to revive the factory with $150 millioninvestment but after one year of signing the agreement, the company could notstart work and thus the contract was revoked.
Ghori-III Cement Factory
The first Ghori Cement Factorywas established in Pul-i-Khumri, the capital of northern Baghlan province, in1960 and made functional in 1963.
The foundation stone of secondGhori Cement Factory was laid in 1977 but after one year work, the factory wasstopped due to war. During the Taliban regime, the second Ghori Cement factorybecame dysfunctional but in 2003 it was made functional again.
The MoMP spokesman said lookingto the capacity of Ghori I and Ghori II, it was decided to establish Ghori IIIfactory as well.
Zarkashan Gold Mine
According to Pajhwok reports,the Zarkashan Gold Mine is situated 90 kilometres from Ghazni City in Muqardistrict and it is spread over 484 square kilometres area.
A research conducted by Germanand US geologists in 1960 and 1973, showed that 7,500 kilogrames of goldexisted in the reservoir.
Nooraba and Samti Gold
Reports show this mine issituated in Nooraba and samti village 10 kilo meters north of Chah Ab districtin northern Takhar province and was discovered by the Soviet Union experts backin 1987.
The exploration contract ofthis mine was inked between the MoMP and the West Land General Trading in 2009and the work kicked off.
In 2013, Pajhwok learnt thatthis contract maintained some handicaps including lack of transparency, contradiction with themining law, the element of friendship in awarding contract, and the transfer ofgold outside the country for processing purpose.
The MoMP in 2018 revoked thecontract based on the Procurement Commission decision following the fulfillmentof obligation including the payment of liabilities, exploration andenvironmental responsibilities on contract holders side.
According to MoMP, thecontracts of the Zarkashan, NoorabaSamti Gold mines would be open to biddingnext months, adding that no company has so far showed interest in investing inthese mining.
Talc Mine in Achin
Talc mine is situated in Achindistrict of Nangarhar province and was discovered by Afghan and Russianengineers some 50 years back. Thedeposit contains over 11 million tonnes of talc.
This stone is used in over 200different areas including medicine making, foods and cosmetics.
Mutfi said a number ofcompanies had shown to invest up to $15 million in the talc mine exploration.
He added Afghan Talc, KordReleas, Karimzai Group, Sardar Mustafa, Habib Shahb and Nabi Afghan companieshad so far offered to invest.
He said the Achin talc minewould generate 500 direct jobs and over 1,000 indirect jobs.
Public welcoming reaction
Some residents believe thatinvestment in mining projects could leave positive impact on current situationand would generate jobs for hundreds of youth.
Mohammad Rahim Malakzai, aresident of Kabul City, said the creation of jobs would help peace andstability and therefor these projects in current circumstances would provecrucial.
Abdul Rauf Benawa, anotherresident, said the MoMP move to launch six mining project was admirable andadded the ministry should consider the interest of people and government duringthe tender of these projects.
Mutfi said implementation ofthe projects would with consent of the Cabinet and the High Council of EconomicAffairs.
He added environmentalprotection, safety, health issues and social services were basic standards ofthe projects. (Pajhwok)