USGS Multimedia Gallery
[music fades in and out]
Hello and welcome to the USGS CoreCast. I'm Jessica Robertson.
Today we are going to be discussing the exciting world of minerals! Specifically, what minerals may exist in Afghanistan.
When you wake up and brush your teeth in the morning, how many of you know what parts of the earth were used to make that blue and white goo? Or how about when you drive your car, do you know what countries we depend on to construct these and other materials?
While we may not think about it on a day-to-day basis, we use minerals in our day-to-day routines. Most of you have probably heard of gold, iron, gemstones, and copper, but many of you probably have not heard of fluorspar, tourmaline, bauxite, or beryllium. Even if you can't pronounce them, we use these and other resources in everyday products and depend on them without knowing it.
When a country has access to minerals, they can mine and extract them, ultimately providing internal wealth and industry. Before any of this is possible, one must first know where these resources are located.
Today I'd like to welcome and introduce you to our guest USGS scientist Stephen Peters. He is one of the scientists who worked for about 2 years to discover what mineral resources may potentially exist within Afghanistan.
Thank you for joining us today, Steve.
Well it's a very big pleasure for me to be here.
So, can you tell us what the USGS announced today?
Yes I can, and we are very proud of the results of a joint project between the USGS and the Afghanistan Geologic Survey that was conducted to study an assessment, which is a preliminary assessment of non-fuel mineral resources of the country of Afghanistan. And the USGS assessment reports in this study that Afghanistan has abundant known mineral resources and also significant potential for additional undiscovered mineral resources.
If Afghanistan has abundant amounts of mineral resources, what does this mean for the country's future?
Well, I think your listeners would be very interested to know that a viable mineral industry is critical to rebuilding Afghanistan's natural resource sector, which in turn will contribute to the country's economic stability.
This assessment of Afghanistan's mineral resources can be used to attract interest and investment in the country's mineral industry. Exploration for and development of mineral deposits can lead industry and commerce, and provide alternative lifestyles to the Afghan people.
And, it's also of note to mention that a robust mineral industry provides jobs, builds infrastructure, and provides government revenue which will contribute to the economic prosperity and stability of the country.
Can you tell us what are some of the minerals that USGS scientists found in Afghanistan and what can they be used for?
Well, there are significant known resources, uh, in the country of copper, iron, and gold, and potential for significant undiscovered resources of these metals as well. There are also known and potential undiscovered resources of cobalt, chromium, silver, barite, sulfur, talc, magnesium, salt, mica, marble, ruby, emerald, and lapis lazuli. Known deposits of asbestos, mercury, lead, zinc, fluorspar, bauxite, beryllium, and lithium, are also present.
The fact sheet and the report has a map and a table summarizing the types and location of the major deposits, and these are available on the USGS websites.
The major metals are used in the building construction, manufacturing, electrical and high-tech industries throughout the world. The industrial minerals, such as clay, gypsum, limestone, and aggregate are used in local building and road construction industries. The precious and semi-precious stones, such as emerald, ruby, and lapis lazuli, support a local industry that provides gems for jewelry.
I noticed earlier that you said these resources may potentially occur, but what does that mean? Are they available for Afghanistan to mine and to use?
Well, the known and potential mineral resources are located in all the provinces of Afghanistan. The largest copper deposits are located in Kabul, Logar, Kandahar, Zabul, and Herat provinces. Large, world-class iron deposits are located in Bamyan and Baghlan provinces. Many of the industrial mineral deposits are present in northern Afghanistan in Kabul, Baghlan, and Kunduz provinces, and therefore these minerals are distributed throughout the country and would benefit people in all the regions and provinces of the country.
Accessibility is dependant upon infrastructure and law enforcement, including enforcement of the country's new mining law. All these issues are currently being addressed in the country's reconstruction activities.
How will this assessment affect the rest of the world? Can others use this data?
Well they sure can, and there is a lot of data to use. Uh, the impact of the minerals industry, or an emerging minerals industry in Afghanistan, will benefit not only Afghanistan, but the whole region. One by providing wealth and stabilization within the country, and also exporting to these neighboring countries throughout the world precious resources which are needed in today's industrial society.
I know this is a "preliminary assessment" but can you elaborate on what that means? Will the USGS be doing more work in this area?
Well, those are two questions, but really they're related. And you know a number of people ask me, "What is an assessment?" And then more people ask me, "What is a preliminary assessment?"
Uh, the assessment is preliminary because it is based largely on older, existing data with very little ground verification. If the USGS were to conduct additional work in Afghanistan, future activities will be designed to acquire new data on the ground, and also remotely with the Afghan Geologic Survey as our partners.
Also the newly acquired airborne geophysical and remote sensing data will be more fully incorporated in any final resource assessment.
Well, thank you for joining us today Steve.
Well it has been a real pleasure Jessica, and I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed myself.
And thank you to all of our listeners who joined us for this episode of Corecast.
If you would like to know more about the types, quantity, and location of Afghanistan's major mineral deposits, as well as other USGS projects in Afghanistan, visit afghanistan.cr.usgs.gov. To find out what other activities USGS Mineral Resources Program scientists are working on, visit their homepage at minerals.usgs.gov.
As always, CoreCast is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.
[music fades in and out]
Mentioned in this segment:
Title: Significant Potential for Undiscovered Resources in Afghanistan
Description: We talk with USGS's Stephen Peters about the newly released preliminary assessment of non-fuel mineral resources in Afghanistan and how they're a critical part of rebuilding its natural resource sector and economic stability.
Date Recorded: 11/13/2007
Audio Producer: Jessica Robertson , U.S. Geological Survey
Usage: This audio file is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this audio.
Suggest an update to the information/tags?