BALKH (PAN): The northern Balkh province is rich in natural resources such as crude oil, cement, aluminum, stucco and sulfur, with the extraction of some mines is underway in some parts of the province.
1- The Afghan- Tajik crude oil area:
Located to the north and northeast, the Afghan- Tajik crude oil starches on 31,000 metres long from Takhar to Jawzjan province.
As many as 12 blocks of crude oil and gas have been discovered in Balkh by Terraseis--- a Canadian Company--- two years ago.
Meanwhile, the demining contract of two blocks (Mazar-i-Sharif and Sundqli) located to the west of Mazar-i-Sharif city to the coastal line of Amo River in Guldara district was signed by the Afghan government with two different Turkish and United Arab Emirates (UAE) companies.
According to the contract, the three companies would invest $1.6 billion in the first five years and another $12 billion in the next 12 years.
The demining work will be completed in the next three to five years in order to level the site for extraction. The two blocks consist 514 barrels of oil and 91 billion cusecs natural gas, a survey said.
Geologist revealed Krod mines were situated 25 kilometres to the south of Mazar-i-Sharif city between Chamtal and Sholgar districts. Krod materials are being used for manufacturing of glasses.
The glass manufacturing and processing factory is underway in Mazar-i-Sharif at the cost of $47 million with the financial assistance by the US.
The Khalm and Chamtal districts of Balkh province have large scale natural resources of stucco.
Processing plants for raw material of stucco have been established in the area in order to further facilitate the demining work for the extraction of 800 to 1000 tons of stucco annually.
Another three mines of stucco located 80 kilometers to the north of Mazar-i-Sharif. The demining contracts have recently been signed.
Another stucco mine is located in Albarz mountains of Chamtal district which has a production capacity of 1,000 tons of stucco annually.
The natural reserves of salt are located northeast of Mazar-i-Sharif in Khalm district.
Its demining contract is awarded to a private company which extracts 1,000 tons of salt annually.
The salt is used for agriculture purpose as its large quantity of potassium is said to be dangerous for domestic use.
The mines of cement have been identified in Albarz Mountains in the south of Balkh province.
More surveys are underway by the concerned department in this regard, officials said.
The underground sulfur mines had been discovered 35 years ago by the soviet geologists in Mohammad Jan area of Hiratan city in Balkh, however, further work was halted due to decades of war in the country.
Large scale sulfur exists in the area around 800 meters deep in the earth which can be used for medical purpose.