Donor assistance

British Geological Survey

Activities in Afghanistan and Institutional strengthening of the Afghanistan Geological Survey

Afghanistan possesses a wealth of mineral resources that are largely undeveloped, including precious metals, base metals, rare metals, precious and semi-precious stones, coal, oil, gas and industrial minerals. Included amongst these are world-class deposits of copper, gemstones and iron. Given the very significant mineral potential of the country it is hoped that this may be exploited in order to generate revenue to help revive the economy and rehabilitate the country following decades of conflict. Like all Government institutions in the country, the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS) has been severely weakened by decades of conflict during which there has been a lack of investment and skills development, and no active work programme. The rehabilitation of the AGS and Ministry of Mines and Industries (MMI) is therefore seen as a high priority in the overall strategy for trying to promote and support the minerals sector. With this in mind the British Government's Department for International Development (DFID) has commissioned the British Geological Survey to undertake a capacity-building project for the Institutional strengthening of the Afghanistan Geological Survey. This began work in Kabul in October 2004 and has a planned duration of three years initially. A complementary project is being undertaken by the United States Geological Survey.

The main components of the BGS project are:

  • Refurbishment of parts of the AGS offices.
  • Assist in the design and implementation of a new organisational structure designed to deliver an improved and accountable Geological Survey.
  • The development of a transparent and fully accountable mining cadastre and related prospecting, exploration and licensing system linked to new Mining Law.
  • The cataloguing, translation and reinterpretation of over 2000 AGS reports, mostly in Russian and Dari, related to Afghanistan's mineral deposits.
  • The generation of digital databases and information packages accessible by a wide range of potential users.
  • The generation of open-file mineral dossiers for selected, high-priority metallic and industrial mineral deposits.
  • The development of a MMI/ AGS website to promote the activities of the organisations and their data holdings, and to provide information to potential investors in Afghanistan's mineral sector.
  • The development of a global and Asian centred mineral market economics capability to examine the economic feasibility of mineral development within Afghanistan.
  • The establishment of a vigorous promotional programme to attract the international mining industry.
  • The overall objective is to help Afghanistan move down the road to a peace-orientated economy.
  • BGS' main focus will be in training people, generating mineral databases, helping to develop the mineral economy, and encouraging good governance. This will form the foundation for a more prosperous and optimistic future for this highly strategic country.

For further information please contact:

Afghanistan Project Manager,
British Geological Survey,
Kingsley Dunham Centre,
Nottingham NG12 5GG
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 115 936 3100
Fax: +44 (0) 115 936 3200

United States Geological Survey (USGS)