Economy, Business And Markets

Afghanistan Calls for Mining Investment

Afghanistan Calls for Mining Investment Afghanistan Calls for Mining Investment

Afghanistan’s Mines and Petroleum Minister Davood Shah Saba called for Iran’s investment in Afghanistan’s mining industry.

In a meeting with the head of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Valiollah Afkhamirad in Tehran on Sunday, Shah Saba said Afghanistan gives priority to neighboring countries, especially to Iran, when it comes to investment, due to religious, cultural and linguistic commonalities, IRNA reported.

He also urged Iran to educate Afghan workforce and to build industrial parks inside Afghanistan.

Afkhamirad expressed Iran’s readiness to cooperate with Afghanistan to exploit and process iron ore. He added that since Afghanistan is a customer of Iranian cement, Iran can transfer some of its cement factories to Afghanistan to start production there.

“One of the requirements of Iran-Afghanistan export development is to launch regular flights between the two countries,” Afkhamirad said.

Earlier on Saturday, Shah Saba met with Iran’s deputy minister of industry, mining and trade, Mehdi Karbasian, during which the Afghan official said, “Despite its rich mineral resources, only less than 30% of Afghanistan’s mineral reserves has so far been surveyed, which makes for a great opportunity for Iran to invest in this area.”

Karbasian said Iran is willing to use all its capacity and resources to cooperate with Afghanistan in joint exploration on border areas, especially in Sangan Iron Ore Complex, located in Khorasan Razavi Province, establishing iron ore concentrate companies, building a steel factory with the capacity of 1 million tons per year and production of copper, chromite, zinc, barite and lead.

  Cooperation Beyond Mining

During the first investment and trade conference on mining and oil sectors of Iran and Afghanistan held in Tehran on Monday, Karbasian said the two countries’ private sectors can also expand cooperation in non-mineral fields such as trade and agriculture.

He referred to the ongoing railroad project that aims to connect the two countries and described it as a big step in improving bilateral trade.

The project, which was launched in 2005, is to connect Afghanistan’s Herat Province to the city of Khaf in Iran’s Khorasan Razavi Province, thereby providing access to the Persian Gulf and international waters through Mashhad-Bafq railroad leading to the port city of Bandar Abbas in Hormozgan Province and Chabahar in Sistan-Baluchestan Province.

Annual trade between Iran and Afghanistan currently stands at $3 billion, with Kabul accounting for a meager share of this figure.

  Kabul Business Confab

Afghan and Iranian investors also attended a three-day business conference in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, which was aimed at discussing market expansion opportunities and widening commercial ties.

Challenges and opportunities were discussed in the meeting titled “Business Development Strategy Review Meeting Between Afghanistan and Iran,” The Afghanistan Times reported.

“Iran is one of the leading countries in direct and joint investment in Afghanistan,” said deputy chief of Afghanistan Investment Support Agency, Mohammad Ibrahim Shams, adding that Iran has invested in the fields of construction, food and medicines production.

Also addressing the conference, head of Khorasan Razavi Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Mohammad Samadi, said 35% of the Iranian province’s goods are exported to Afghanistan.

The Iranian business team comprised 16 delegates.