KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): The marble stones processed in southern Kandahar province are attracting customers in large numbers, an official said on Saturday.
The marble stones are transferred from the Desho district of southern Helmand province to Kandahar for processing. The marble products are used in construction of houses, offices, flower pots, tables and dishes.
In addition, they are designed for decoration of buildings. Ali Ahmad, the marble factory owner, told Pajhwok Afghan News he had been making marble products and exporting them abroad.
He said the extraction of stones in Desho was supervised by the Ministry of Mines and the products were exported to China, Italy and some other countries. Previously, the marble stones were sent abroad for processing.
Ahmad planned marble processing inside Afghanistan and their export to foreign countries. “After devising this plan, I created the processing factory in Kandahar at a cost of $300,000.”
After the establishment of his own factory, he realised that natural resources were owned by Afghanistan and they should also be used by the Afghans.
“Initially, I brought required machinery from Italy with a few foreign workers who helped train another 20 Afghan staff,” he recalled, saying currently the factory was run by Afghans.
He said the workers initially excavated marbles from a mine in Desho and then transfer them to Lashkargah, the provincial capital. After clearance from the department of mines, the marbles were brought to Kandahar.
Ali Ahmad said the factory produced marbles for the decoration of homes and many people liked them. The prices are affordable, with the products discouraging imports.
Afghanistan has high-quality marble with more shine and a variety of crystal shapes, according to the industrialist, who claimed his marble products were adjudged second in the world last year.
Ali Ahmad said China and Italy also had quality marbles, but deposits of those countries were about to finish. On the other hand, Afghanistan is set to emerge as leading marble producer.
He informed the Helmand marble mine is 175 kilometres long and 25 kilometres wide -- one of the world’s largest reserves. The domestic market is good but producers are looking for international market with government patronage.
Power outages were a huge hurdle in the way of his factory making progress, the industrialist said, adding they used generators to run the factory. He demanded the government ensure round-the-clock electricity supply.
Mohammad Anwar, the factory’s manager, said he had been working there for the last 15 years. Earlier he worked in different Pakistani factories. He said their products had found many customers throughout the country.
Abdul Rauf, a resident of Kandahar City, told Pajhwok they were attracted by the products because of their beauty. Locals used imported marbles and other stones for construction purposes but they were both expensive and not up to their taste.
The stones are exported to different countries at low prices but, apparently, domestic investors are now lured into the business.