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Wednesday 4 March 2015

MCC Urged to Resume Work on Ainak Copper Mine


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PUL-I-ALAM (Pajhwok Afghan News) – Senior officials on Monday said 86 security posts had been set up around the Ainak copper mine in central Logar province and urged investors to resume work on tapping the world’s largest deposits.

The Ainak copper mine area is one of the important and valuable ancient sites from the perspective of succession of time and rich ancient relics and civilizations of Koshanid, Koshano-Samanid, Koshani-Yaftali until the 4th century and Kidaro-Yaftali kings, Hindu Shahan and Turk Shahan until the 7th century.

The copper site often comes under attack from insurgents, who have succeeded in halting work on the mine. Once production starts, the mine will generate a quarter of a billion dollars a year and create around 75 000 jobs. Brig. Gen. Mohammad Nasim Massoud, the commander of special security forces for the mine, told reporters near the site that 1750 policemen had been deputed to keep security for the project. He said the police deployment would prevent insurgents from launching attacks on the site or create problems for workers. He declared the Chinese firm could resume its extraction activities at the mine.

Acting Governor Niaz Mohammad Amiri visited the site late on Sunday and inspected security posts recently established in the area. Senior government and security officials accompanied the governor. Massoud accused Pakistan of creating insecurity in areas near the mine, but said insurgents would not be allowed create insecurity in the areas.

A landmark $3 bln deal was signed with the China Metallurgical Group (MCC) and Jiangxi Copper to produce copper in 2007, but the consortium has demanded a review of the deal, dashing Kabul’s hope for economic self-reliance. The Chinese firms could delay the start of production by five years to 2019.

Acting Governor Amiri said his visit to the mine site was aimed at inspecting security arrangements. He said security for the mine project had been ensured and the Chinese company could fearlessly resume its activities. “MCC should not make insecurity an excuse; it should come and restart work because security in all areas around the mine has been ensured”, the acting governor claimed.

The acting mines minister recently told lawmakers work at the Ainak mine had been halted due to the discovery of ancient artefacts at the site.

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