Officials from the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) on Sunday said that the High Economic Council has decided Nangarhar’s Sheikh Mesri Industrial Park will be turned into a talc mining industrial park.
Officials said very little has been invested in the talc mining industry but the export of talc stones in the past four years has earned the country about $10 million USD.
Talc is used in many industries, including paper making, plastic, paint and coatings, rubber, food, electric cable, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and ceramics.
According to MoMP, Afghanistan is rich in the clay mineral with large deposits found in Kabul, Parwan, Kapisa, Ghazni, Kandahar, Helmand and Nangarhar provinces.
Over 30 talc processing factories are currently operational in the country.
“According to a survey carried out in recent years, millions of tons of talc exists only in one mine in Achin district and because of that, we can say that Afghanistan is rich in talc minerals,” said Abdul Qadeer Mutfi, spokesman for the MoMP.
“We have undertaken a plan to establish infrastructure in Sheikh Mesri industrial park based on which investments will be attracted for the processing of talc in the country,” said Musafir Qoqandi, spokesman for the MoCI.
At the same time, concerns exist that the majority of talc mines are found in insecure regions of Afghanistan and there is a fear of illegal extraction of tens of thousands of tons of talc stones – and the smuggling of the mineral out of the country.
MoMP claimed that it had outlined some programs to prevent illegal mining.