KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A joint U.S.-Afghanistan survey has determined Afghanistan has high mineral potential the Kabul government can develop.
The U.S. Geological Survey said it participated in the survey with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Afghan Geological Survey. It said extensive research by the agencies "has yielded volumes of information about areas of high mineral potential in Afghanistan, including rare earth elements, gold, iron, and copper."
Many of the mineral priority areas surveyed, including the rare-earth rich Khanneshin, are "world-class resources that could lead to significant commercial development."
"The USGS is exceptionally pleased by the contribution we have been able to make to future development of Afghanistan's world-class mineral resources, made possible through the application of modern remote-sensing tools," said agency Director Marcia McNutt.
Another expert said the mineral resources in Afghanistan have the potential to transform the nation's economy.
The experts, who also used old data developed by the former Soviet Union, studied 24 formations including the huge copper and cobalt deposits near Kabul, iron-rich areas in central Afghanistan, copper and gold resources in southeastern Afghanistan, and rare-earth element deposits in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, the report said.
Afghan Ambassador to the United States Eklil Hakimi said the ultimate goal is "to make sure that this wealth that belongs to the people of Afghanistan, ultimately that they can get the benefit from it," the Voice of America reported.