The income of the Herat Directorate of Mines and Petroleum’s has decreased by 50 percent due to a considerable fall in the export of semi-processed minerals from the province – particularly marble stone – for the past two years.
The yearly income of the department was 107 million Afs in 2011, mostly generated from mineral resources extraction of marble stone in particular.
However, Herat’s income has fallen to less than 47 million Afs in past two years, officials in the department said.
“Despite that we have mines full of minerals, we have only focused on semi-precious stones. We have not done any productive work on extraction. This has affected our income,” said Abdul Jamil Elyasi, head of the Mines and Petroleum Department of Herat.
The export of Herat’s unprocessed marble has been banned by President Ashraf Ghani, but reports indicate that tens of vehicles are smuggling of raw marble to Iran every month.
Elyasi said the ban on the export of unprocessed marble of Herat is the main reason behind the decrease in their income. Businessmen are therefore processing the marble and then export it to the world.
“It has been at least two years that we have not been allowed to export unprocessed marble. A number of companies are trying to buy processing machines for the marble stone in order to export the treated stone,” he added.
Meanwhile, the provincial governor spokesman Jailani Farhad said: “There are facilities and capacity and Herat is the suitable place for mines extraction. We hope that the Mines and Petroleum Ministry use these capacities.”