Taliban signs $90 million contract for lead extraction

The Taliban’s Ministry of Mines signed a contract on Thursday with two private companies for lead and zinc mining in Ghor province, valued at over $90 million.

According to a statement from the ministry, the first block in Ghor covers an area exceeding 175 square kilometers. The companies will invest $10 million in the exploration phase and $36 million in the extraction phase.

The statement also noted that the third semi-block has an area of more than 104 square kilometers, with investments of $6.95 million for exploration and $41.56 million for extraction.

The contracts for exploring and extracting these minerals were awarded to Akram Naimi and Qulla-e-Afghan companies, about which the ministry has released little information.

Additionally, the statement mentioned that Ekram Naimi’s company would spend $150,000 annually on social services, in addition to paying a 20% income tax and royalties. It will also allocate funds for constructing 209 kilometers of road from Arghandab district in Kandahar to the center of Trinkot in Uruzgan, Dehrawid district to Chattopol, including $500,000 for exploration and $200,000 annually for environmental efforts during the extraction phase.

Qulla-e-Afghan commits to $8 million in social services, $85,000 for exploration, and $1.5 million for environmental protection during extraction. This company is also tasked with building the Herat-Ghor highway and a segment of the Herat-Mazar-e-Sharif ring highway, subject to a 20% income tax and royalties.

Over the past two years, the ministry has secured various contracts for mining with both domestic and foreign entities.

Concerns about transparency and corruption in these mining contracts have been raised, but the Taliban has yet to address these criticisms.