Taliban inks mining deals worth $141 million

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban finalized mining contracts valued at over 10 billion Afghanis (more than $141 million) with four Afghan companies on Thursday.

The agreements, focusing on gold mines in Baghlan Province, Zaal Sang, iron in Herat, and chromite in Parwan, were signed by the Taliban-led Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and private firms.

Shahabuddin Delawar, the acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, stated during the signing, “Today, we’re committing to four mining projects with a total investment of 10 billion and 150 million Afghanis.” He added that the Taliban administration would hold a 55% stake in these projects, with the remaining 45% owned by the companies, which will also be subject to a 20% tax rate.

Delawar emphasized that all mining operations would be processed domestically, potentially creating thousands of jobs within Afghanistan.

This development follows the Taliban’s previous engagements, where they secured six major mining contracts, collectively worth over $6.5 billion, with entities from China, Iran, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, focusing on gold, copper, lead, and iron.

Since regaining power in Afghanistan, the Taliban government has prioritized mining as a key revenue source. According to the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, the regime has awarded contracts for 200 mines in the last two years, with 108 of these in the past year alone. This compares to 126 small mines contracted during the previous 20 years under the Republican regime.

Afghanistan’s rich deposits of gold, precious stones, lithium, iron, cobalt, and copper, among other natural resources, are estimated to be worth around three trillion dollars, representing a significant untapped economic potential.