El Dorado in Afghanistan
It was great news when Americans announced their surprising report about a chance of natural sources in Afghanistan. The potential revenue from mining is around one trillion US dollars. However, the issue is not only the lack of infrastructure which is the biggest barrier of the future profit from this incredible natural wealth, it is also the question of who will take the real profit from the oil, copper, coal and other mineral and natural sources. The example of copper mines in Logar province near Kabul might be a sad answer to this.
Russia was first
The potentiality is easily visible and it had been well known also before the American press release. Zare district in Balch province may support this supposition. It is a very poor area in the mountains without good roads and infrastructure. Trained eyes of a geologist can easily recognise black minerals among many rocks around. It is coal but there are no mines. The security situation is not easy and missing roads and skilled people are the main protection of the underground wealth. “When I worked for the Russians in the 1980s, we were doing geologist research in Kundus province. We found oil resources there. However, now we are quarrying only small fractions of all the resources there. All the knowledge about the sources is in Moscow,“ eng. Waheed says. It shows that the potential had been well known before, but the number of sources and the areas where they are is still secret information which only few people know.
Americans know and Chinese get
Many people think that Americans will be the nation with the highest profit from Afghan sources. The present development shows something different, perhaps also due to a copper mine near Kabul. The concession has been gained by Chinese. There is gossip among the Afghans that it cost 30 million US dollars on corruption. Moreover, it was probably the biggest profit which Afghans could really see. In the same way as the Chinese have been doing it all around the world, they came with their own engineers, cheap workers and miners. Therefore the Afghans did not gain anything, none of the thousands jobs which the mine could provide. It is true that the ordinary Afghans often have low education and skills, but as it is their country, should not they get the biggest part from their natural wealth?
Unfortunately, the problem of Afghanistan is corruption. Those companies which offer the biggest amount of money to the state officers can make real profit. It means that the companies which would really help Afghans economy do not get the chance. The situation could be similar to Kongo (Zair) or Sudan where people are more than poor and the wealth has been exported to the countries which simply, as they have power, want the sources and do not care about human rights at all.