The exploration process of a major iron mine was kicked off on Thursday in the Ghorian district of the province of Herat.
Over $5.5 billion is expected to be invested by domestic and foreign companies.
At the opening ceremony of the exploration process of the mine, the acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Shahabuddin Delawar, said that the iron being extracted from the mine will be processed inside the country.
He also said that 13 percent of the income will go to the government’s budget.
“We have calculated the investment which we are planning to spend here. It is $5.5 billion which will be invested by the foreign and national companies,” Delawar said.
He said that the iron will be exported abroad under Afghanistan’s pretext.
“You will not be allowed to take it out of here unless you have completed the 100 percent processing inside Afghanistan,” Delawar said.
“Those who are investing abroad have frozen their investments in fact and they have less income. The competition is difficult for them, and their benefit is also less for Afghanistan. We give them this good news that Afghanistan is a good place from the perspective of economic and security issues,” said Noor Ahmad Islamjar, Herat governor.
The officials said that 3 percent of the income of the mine will be invested in the development of Herat.
According to officials of the companies, more than 20,000 vacancies will be created for the people by working on the mine.
“They have anticipated 1.2 billion tons but some foreigners anticipated 1.6 billion tons. We are in the process of exploring the mine to find out how much of the minerals are here,” said Ziaul Haq Stanikzai, a company head.
The mine is approximately 1,000 square kilometers.