Afghanistan Hires Consultants for Mineral Assets


"The nation boasts ~$1 trillion in iron, copper, cobalt and gold deposits."

Experts with SRK Consulting, Mayer Brown and Heenan Blaikie will assist Afghanistan in its efforts to expedite international investment in its promising mining sector, Afghan Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani said this week.

Afghanistan is looking to tap its mineral wealth after news last year of nearly $1 trillion in deposits. The discoveries include huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and industrial metals such as lithium.

The announcement of the advisors helping Afghanistan was made at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada's conference in Toronto.

SRK Consulting technical advisors, led by Neal Rigby, and Mayer Brown legal advisors, led by partner Ian Coles, will design and execute a transparent tender process on behalf of the Ministry of Mines, Shahrani said. Heenan Blaikie partner Steve Vaughan will assist with strategic direction.

SRK offers mining-sector clients services from exploration through feasibility, mine planning, production and closure. Mayer Brown is an international law firm with 1,600 attorneys across Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Over the past year, Afghanistan's vast mineral wealth have been portioned into 24 "areas of interest" based on security, scale, market value, infrastructure needs and availability, and time to impact. The work was undertaken by the U.S. Defense Department's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, in conjunction with the Afghanistan Geological Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The assembled team of consultants working with Afghanistan is sponsored by U.S. Department of Defense's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations.

"The sheer volume of minerals, precious metals and rare earth elements that lie beneath the Earth's surface in Afghanistan represent a powerful potential economic engine. The responsible development of this mineral wealth can make Afghanistan economically self-sufficient and create thousands of local jobs," said Deputy Under Secretary Paul A. Brinkley, who directs the Task Force.

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