Domestic Economy

Iranians Urged to Invest in Afghanistan’s Mining Sector

Iranians Urged to Invest in Afghanistan’s Mining Sector
Iranians Urged to Invest in Afghanistan’s Mining Sector

The Iranian ambassador in Kabul said that the current situation offers the best opportunity to invest in Afghanistan’s mining sector.
“Now is the best opportunity to invest in Afghanistan’s mines and we encourage Iranian investors to invest in Afghanistan,” Hassan Kazemi-Qomi was also quoted as saying by Bakhtar News Agency.
The Iranian diplomat made these statements in an interview with Bazar news agency on Jan. 11, 2023.
Cooperation with Afghanistan in various sectors is one of Iran’s main strategies, based on a humanitarian and moral-Islamic view and securing economic benefits, he added.
He spoke about the importance of steel industry in his country, adding that there is no better country than Afghanistan in the field of mining for Iran.
“Afghanistan is a close country for Iran in terms of carrying out economic activities and transferring knowledge and technology between the two neighboring countries,” he added.
Kazemi-Qomi noted that currently part of Iran’s needs for essential goods are supplied through imports from far-off countries such as Australia, Brazil and Latin American countries, while Iran can utilize Afghanistan.
In a meeting with several Iranian investors, Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum Sheikh Shahabuddin Delawar asked them to invest in Afghanistan’s mining sector.



Coal Exports From Afghanistan to Iran

Afghanistan’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Nooruddin Azizi had earlier announced that Kabul would sign a contract with Tehran in order to export coal to the neighboring country in the near future.
Speaking in an interview with Ariana News, Azizi said that much progress has been made in the negotiations to export coal to Iran and added that they are trying to expand the volume of exports so that Afghanistan’s trade balance becomes equal.
“We are in contact with Iran and the country is eager to import coal from Afghanistan,” said Azizi, adding that Iran needs this product to melt its iron.
He also said that all exports of the country, including coal are done in according to the prices of the international market, and that there is no reason to worry in this regard.
Iran will initiate mining in Afghanistan’s Ghor Province within a month, local officials were quoted by Fars News Agency as saying earlier.
An Iranian company has signed contracts to start mining for lead and zinc in Ghor, the report said.
Ebrahim Jamili, the head of the Mines and Mining Industry Commission of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, said Iran’s private sector is planning to invest in the mines of Afghanistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan.
“We might need to transfer technology to these countries and, in return, meet our domestic needs for minerals from these mines,” he said.
A memorandum of understanding on exploration and exploitation of Afghanistan’s mines and mineral exports was signed between Iran and Afghanistan in 2016.
Afghanistan is home to over 1,400 mineral fields containing copper, gold, iron ore, lead, sulfur and zinc as well as high-quality gemstones such as emerald, lapis lazuli, red garnet and ruby.
It is believed that the country holds $1 billion in untapped mineral deposits, according to USGS reports. 
The best know and largest iron ore deposit in Afghanistan is located at Hajigak in Bamyan Province. It is also among the world's biggest untapped iron ore deposits.  Hajigak Iron Ore Mine is estimated to possess nearly 2 million tons of approximately 62% pure iron ore, with sixteen ore bodies extending for up to 3 kilometers. The mine is amenable to open pitting, with the added bonus that the nearby Shabashak Coal Mine providing an opportunity for the establishment of an integrated iron and steel plant.
Afghanistan is also home to one of the world's largest copper reserves. The Mes Aynak copper mine–located in the Afghan Logar Province–is the world's second largest copper reserve. The Afghan Mining Ministry estimates that the mine holds some six million tons of copper. The mine is expected to be worth tens of billions of dollars.



Afghans Made Half of Foreign Investment in Iran Last Year

Afghan nationals are responsible for half of Iran’s foreign Investment in 2022 alone, the Iranian envoy said earlier.
Kazemi-Qomi, who is also the special representative of the Iranian president to Afghanistan, said, “Afghan nationals in Iran play a pivotal role in the national economy. Half of Iran’s foreign investment comes from them, therefore, the high capacity of Afghan citizens should be utilized when the country is facing difficulties in attracting foreign investment,” Khama Press News Agency reported.
The envoy added that during the past year the UAE expelled 700 Afghan businessmen from that country, whose capital investment was estimated at $30 million. "Unfortunately, we failed to attract this capital and encourage Afghan traders to invest in Iran.”
Currently, Iran is facing a major challenge in attracting foreign investment. To address the issue, the Iranian government needs to come up with a comprehensive policy to ensure that Afghan business owners can legally run their businesses and other economic activities without facing hurdles. In the past, the bank accounts of Afghan citizens were blocked for vague reasons which was a big blow to foreign investment, the news agency wrote.
The estimated assets of Afghan businessmen and companies operating in Khorasan Razavi Province is around $1 billion, according to the Association of Afghan Economic Activists in the northeastern Iranian province.
To capitalize on the existing opportunity by providing work permits, visas and license to Afghan citizens, Iran can attract more foreign investors from Afghanistan, the region and beyond, the report concluded. It noted that Iran is home to thousands of Afghan citizens, including businesspeople, students and refugees. Besides the increasing problems Afghan refugees are currently faced with, they have lived in peace and harmony for many years in Iran.

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