Afghanistan has abundant mineral resources, including known deposits of copper, iron, barite, sulfur, talc, chromium, magnesium, salt, mica, marble, rubies, emeralds, lapis lazuli, asbestos, nickel, mercury, gold and silver, lead, zinc, fluorspar, bauxite, beryllium, and lithium (fig. 1). Between 2005 and 2007, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded a cooperative study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS) to assess the non-fuel mineral resources of Afghanistan as part of the effort to aid in the reconstruction of that country.
An assessment is an estimation or evaluation, in this instance of undiscovered non-fuel mineral resources. Mineral resources are materials that are in such form that economic extraction of a commodity is currently or potentially feasible. In this assessment, teams of scientists from the USGS and the AGS compiled information about known mineral deposits and then evaluated the possible occurrence of undiscovered deposits of all types. Quantitative probabilistic estimates were made for undiscovered deposits of copper, mercury, rare-earth elements, sulfur, chromite, asbestos, potash, graphite, and sand and gravel. These estimates were made for undiscovered deposits at depths less than a kilometer. Other deposit types were considered and discussed in the assessment, but quantitative estimates of numbers of undiscovered deposits were not made. In addition, the assessment resulted in the delineation of 20 mineralized areas for further study, of which several may contain resources amenable to rapid development.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Preliminary Assessment of Non-Fuel Mineral Resources of Afghanistan, 2007