MAIMANA (Pajhwok): The northern Faryab province is rich in natural resources, including gas, salt and oil but the natural reserves cannot be utilized in a proper way.
Researchand geological studies suggest there are abundant mineral reserves elsewhere in the province where the environment is favorable for their extraction.
Of 212kinds of metals and stones reserves, as many as 70 percent of them can be extracted but the government did not bother to explore the rich underground reserves which would bring prosperity and development to the country.
Sharing border with Turkmenistan, the province is rich in salt, stucco, marble, coal, gas and petroleum mines.
Turkish and American experts discovered large mines of oil and gas in the province and believed if these mines are extracted it would bolster the entire economic sector of the country.
Its extraction would help generate job opportunities for the locals, they observed.
Gas mine is situated in KhanCharbagh and Andkhoydistricts, 130 kilometres to the northeastern of Maimana, the capital city.
Similarly, petroleum mine is located in KhajaIslan area of Qaisardistrict, some 80 kilometres to the northwest of Maimana.
The most known of mines include salt mine in Dawlat Abad district, stucco mine in ShirinTagab and Adkhoy, marble,alabaster and coal in Almar districts.
Salt mine in Dawlatabad andstucco in Astana Baba and Andkhoydistricthave been contracted with private firms.
Dawlatabad salt mine is the biggest one in Afghanistan, which is 10 kilometresin width and four kilometresin length. The mine was discovered in 1941.
The mine was contracted seven years ago with a private company for ten years and the firm extracted 100 tons per year and was paying 122 afganisas tax to the government for each ton.
The mine was discovered three years ago and stretches in eight parts of Astana Baba area on the outskirts of ShirinTagab district. The mine has been contracted with nine private local firms and individuals from where 400 to 1,000 tons of stucco extracted annually.
One ton stucco has been contracted for 450 afghanis and its revenue reaches 2 million afghanis per annum.
According to experts, if security of the mine is maintained and roads are built with the investment of reputable companies,then it would help fulfilled most of the domestic needs.
Currently, ShirinTagabis known for stucco mines. Another stucco mine is situated in southeastern of Andkhoy center and the excavation is underway for the last 20 years.
The mine is situated in khajaIslan on the outskirts of Qaisar district. It was discovered in 1976 by the former Soviet Union. After 1979 revolution, its extraction was halted with all the heavy machinery and vehicles were stolen during the war days. Only one well, 1,000 meters in depth, is still existed in Ali Gul area of the district.
Oil mine in Qaisar, gas mine in Andkhoy and KhanCharbagh districts have been contracted with Turkish and the US firmswhich would be launched soon.
According to a recent survey by Turkish firms, oil and gas are noticed in Almar, Qaramqul and ShirinTagabdistricts as well.
Seven oil wells were discovered in 1977 in Qaisar district by the Northern Petroleum and Gas Discovery Department but only one well has been estimated having 2. 3 billion of tons oil.
WahidullahShahrani, the mines’ minister, visited Andkhoy district of the province in September 2013.A surveyhasbeendonein the district at the cost of $7 million by the government development budget.
The findings of the survey had been observed by India and the UAE, which shows Andkhoyhasthe biggest natural gas reserves in northern provinces.
The minster says in light of the findings, world renowned companies would be given contract to start extraction process.
It merits mention here that salt mine inDawlatabad district, stucco in ShirinTagab, marble and alabaster in Almarand oil wells in Qaisar districts are situated in insecure areas. The residents demanded the government to ensure security and launch extraction in larger development of the country and nation.
Coal mine in Almar district is located 60 Kilometresfrom Maimanabuta proper survey would yet carry out.
Alabaster and marble mines were contracted with a private firm five years ago but the company was interested to cancel the contract because of growing insecurity in the area.
Similarly, uranium in Garziwan district, iron in Belcharagh and Sulfur in ShirinTagabdistricts are among the mineral reservoirs that could not be extracted yet.