ASADABAD (PAN): Known as one of the mountainous regions, the eastern Kunar province is excessively rich in natural resources especially mines of precious and semi-precious stones, which need to be extracted in a legal and professional way.
Located in the eastern part of the country, the province has several mines of precious and semi-precious stones while its excavation is continued illegally and nonprofessionally. The mines are being smuggled to outside countries since long but the authorities’ concerned yet to take any step.
Eng. Haroon Rasheed, head of provincial mines department, said mines of precious stones are abundant in Chapa Dara, Manogi, Tapor, Shaigal, Ghaziabad, Saoki, Sargano, and Kas Kunar districts.
The geological survey could not be conducted in the province to explore and identify locations of natural resources, he said, adding some previous surveys were unreliable.
Since its establishment, the provincial mines department has identified 180 locations rich in mines of precious stones exist, he added.
The precious and semi-precious stones’ mines include mica, marble, quartz, chromites, epidote, aquamarine, tourmaline, agate, morganite, cunzite and rubelite.
According to the geological survey conducted back in 1976, large scale natural resources of emerald exists in Badyal valley of Narang district located 17 kilometers to the west of Asadabad, the provincial capital.
The mines of precious stones in Manogi district have been illegally extracted and smuggled by local groups for years but the government does not take any step to protect its assets.
Areas of Chapa Dara district such as Barjin, Khor, Siorayi, Qala, Kotan, Kirta, Niaz Gani, Sowi, Watala, Daigal and Tangi Kanakan of Manogi district are rich in mines of precious stones including biroch, aquamarine, agate, tourmaline and others.
Similarly, mines of stones are found in Shaigal, and Watapor districts while the talac precious stone with green colour is said to be helpful in treatment of skin diseases.
Various types of quality marble stones are abundant in Saoki and Noor Gul districts of Kunar located 28 kilometres to the west of provincial capital, Asadabad. Red marble stones can be found in Smazai Ziarat area of Sarkano district.
Head of provincial mines department said super white marble stones are abundant in BaroTangi and Mazar Dara area of Saoki district, adding large scale chromites can be found in the province starting elsewhere in Shonkari area of Sarkano district and Mangwal locality of Khas Kunar district.
Illegal extraction of mines underway at 84 different points in the province, which are then being smuggled out of the country, he said, adding as many as 243,000 tons of chromites had been estimated in various areas of the province.
The mines of Chromites are situated in Shonkrai area of Sarkano district and spread to Khiwa district alongside the Durand Line.
Similar, Chromites have been explored from Yakha China to Ahmadi Ghondi area in Khas Kunar district. Chromites of the province turned out to be the best quality stones after its 17 samples were tested in a laboratory.
The mines rich Kunar requires further surveys to explore more locations of precious stones, he said, adding the survey conducted in 2013 revealed large scale mines of chromites, limonite and sulfur exist in Qala-e-Tangi area of Chapa Dara district.
The Ghaziabad district located 50 kilometers to the east of Asadabad has large reservoirs of antimony stones in its mountainous arease.
The precious stones in eastern province are different in terms of quality, however, the best quality precious stones mines are found in eastern Kunar province.