It was announced by the Afghan mining minister that Chinese and Indian bidders and in the front line for deals to mine Afghanistan’s rich iron ore and oil deposits. The official further cited it was worrying for
him that the Western companies are still reluctant to invest in a war-stricken country like Afghanistan.
The country’s vast deposits in gold, copper, iron ore, precious stones, oil, gas and rare earth minerals can earn huge amount of profit to the state if their extraction is performed properly. It was estimated that Afghanistan can
harbour up to three trillion dollars in mineral wealth from its natural resources.
Although war has not fully extinguished in the region and still a number of militant groups are activated, the country’s rich natural resources attract many risk-friendly investors to launch their projects in Afghanistan. The President
of the United States has already announced the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan by the next year and this leaves less to worry about the security concerns while operating in the country.
Due to ever increasing demand of energy and industrial inputs, investors from China and India are showing great interest to launch mining projects in Afghanistan. Wahidullah Shahrani, Afghan Minister of Mines, told Reuters on the
sidelines of a mining conference in Belgium that six companies have been short listed to give the mining contract for the vast Hajigak iron ore project in early November.
The minister mentioned that two Indian bidders have emerged as “the most potential companies” among the six nominees. One of the bidders is an independent company and the other is a consortium that includes india’s powerful Mittal
family as well.
Regarding the oil and gas contract in Amu Darya filed in the northern part of Afghanistan, Shahrani told that a Chinese bidder is most likely to get it in December. He also encouraged investors to launch projects in Afghanistan
to get the first mover advantage.
“Those companies that get into Afghanistan early will have good opportunities,” the minister added in the end.
Since the Westerns firms are not showing their eagerness in investing in Afghanistan, it seems a perfect chance for the Asian investors to avail this opportunity in the developing country of Afghanistan.