Afghanistan can be regional trade hub: Mukherjee


KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan has the potential to emerge as a hub of regional trade, transport and energy corridors and a land of opportunity that contribute to economic growth, the Indian president said on Wednesday.

At a meeting with Afghanistan’s Second Vice-President Karim Khalili, Pranab Mukherjee said Indian companies were interested in bidding for exploring copper, gold, oil and gas deposits in the war-torn country.

Economic Council OKs investment policy


KABUL (PAN): A policy of encouraging entrepreneurs was approved by the High Economic Council (HEC) on Thursday, the Presidential Palace said on Thursday.

Covering construction, agriculture, development, export and mining sectors, the policy was prepared by the Ministries of Finance and Commerce and Industries.

Valid until the end of 2014, the investor-luring strategy was discussed at an HEC meeting, chaired by President Hamid Karzai, a statement from his office said.

Contracts can't be signed pending law approval


KABUL (PAN): A Ministry of Mines official said on Saturday contracts for the development of four key minefields could not be signed, pending parliamentary approval of a draft law.

Preliminary work on local and foreign investment in the mines in northeastern, northern, central and southern parts of the country had been completed, an advisor to the Ministry of Mines, Mohammad Asif Frozan, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

India eyes deal on maiden Afghan steel plant


KABUL (PAN): The Indian government plans negotiations with steel and mining firms on reaching a deal with Afghanistan to develop four iron ore blocks and set up a steel plant in central Bamyan province, a report said on Friday.

Ninety percent of the agreement had been finalised, the Times of India quoted unnamed sources as saying. The Afghan Iron and Steel Consortium (AIFSCO) sought soft financing from New Delhi, it added.

Shahrani hints at major mining deals


KABUL (PAN): Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani has said negotiations with Australia were underway on the next phase of helping Afghanistan develop its mining industry and tap into mineral and energy reserves.

An official at the ministry said that Shahrani, at the head of a delegation, had reached Australia to attend a mining development conference there next week.

Karzai makes pitch for investment, peace


KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai has urged Qatari entrepreneurs to exploit the opportunities offered by his administration and invest in Afghanistan, his office said on Sunday.

In his interaction with Qatari traders, Karzai made a pitch for investments by businessmen from the oil-rich Gulf state, a statement from the Presidential Palace said.

Cabinet discusses revised draft law on mines


KABUL (PAN): A Cabinet meeting, chaired by President Hamid Karzai, on Monday discussed in detail a revised draft law on mines and petroleum, calling the law crucial to the country's economic development.

Presented by the ministries of justice and mines, the draft law had been revised and evaluated by a special committee the Cabinet appointed on July. 14, 2012, the Presidential Palace said in a statement.

Illegal mining blamed on insecurity


KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): With insecurity scaring away investors, government efforts have failed so far to estimate mineral deposits or prevent their illegal extraction in southern Kandahar province, officials admit.

Insecurity has led to unlimited illegal mining operations in the cement and copper-rich region and the Taliban birthplace, officials at the provincial mines department say, blaming warlords for the messy situation.

Faryab mines director kidnapped by fighters


MAIMANA (PAN): A director of the mines department was abducted along with two of his subordinates and their driver killed in the northern province of Faryab, officials said on Wednesday.

Eng. Shah Wali was kidnapped in the Quram Qul district on his way from Andkhoi to Maimana on Tuesday evening, the provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Nabi Jan Mullahkhel, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

Hungary offers help in mining sector


KABUL (PAN): Hungarian President János Áder on Monday promised assistance to Afghanistan in different fields, including exploitation of its enormous mineral wealth.

At a meeting with President Hamid Karzai, Áder offered Hungary’s cooperation with the war-torn country in protecting the environment and minismising the side-effects of extraction from mines.


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