Local officials in Panjshir announced the lawful extraction of emeralds from its mines and said their sales were valued at close to 25 million afghani.
Officials said that they recently put up for bid an emerald of more than 1,200 carats, which two businessmen were successful in buying.
“There was a total of two mines. The price was determined with the presence of the delegation. It was put up for free bidding as demanded by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum,” said Mohammad Hakim Agha, the governor of Panjshir province.
“It has been almost three-weeks since we started working. These minerals were extracted in the third week. We are hoping God will give us something from these mines,” said Mohammad Hossein, a miner.
Businesspeople say they want the authorities to prevent the smuggling of emeralds to other countries and their illegal sale.
“All mines were closed during the former government. There was no intention by the government to benefit the people. They were saying it is government property, but they couldn’t stop the extraction and it was all smuggled,” said Haji Faisal, head of the union of stone selling.
“Panjshir is famous emeralds, which are even exported to the US,” said Mohammad Naeem, a trader.
According to the officials, more than 700 emerald mines have been recognized in the province.