20 March 2007: A British Geological Survey (BGS) project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) addresses the need to alleviate poverty in Afghanistan by encouraging inward investment, commercial and infrastructure development and provides an alternative source of income to poppy cultivation.
Afghanistan is well endowed with mineral resources such as copper, gold, iron ore and gemstones. During the late 1970’s and 1980’s, Russian geologists carried out wide ranging exploration surveys for metals. One of the most advanced of these prospects, the Aynak Copper Deposit, located 35 km south of Kabul, consists of 240 Mt grading 2.3% Copper. This copper was formed within marbles and schists deposited some 500 million years ago.
Anthony Benham, project geologist at BGS explained: “BGS geologists have been assisting the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS) over the past two years with scanning, digitizing and re-interpreting data from the Aynak Copper Deposit. My colleagues and I have created a detailed three-dimensional model of the deposit. We also helped in carefully archiving and cataloging all geological information and with rebuilding the AGS library, museum and laboratories. Teaching English to AGS geologists, developing computing capacity and updating their geological knowledge have formed a vital part of this project.”