USAID Mining Investment and Development for Afghan Sustainability (MIDAS) Project
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Mining Investment and Development for Afghan Sustainability (MIDAS) project in March 2013 to assist the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) to responsibly and efficiently develop the nation’s mineral wealth. MIDAS supports the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) and the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS) to improve expertise for mining site development, develop investor-friendly laws and regulations, and increase opportunities for Afghan businesses to participate in the mining value chain. A key mission of MIDAS is to ensure that women play a significant role in mineral development as participants and beneficiaries.
The project has two offices each in the MoMP and AGS and has works closely with senior officials to improve the mining sector.
Several MIDAS initiatives are already having an impact including a knowledge hub initiative, held every few weeks, to increase the sharing of ideas and knowledge and an on-going assessment of Afghan mineral exploration firms for use in the spring of 2014.
Legal & Regulatory Reform
Several legal and regulatory impediments have hindered development of the mining industry in Afghanistan. USAID MIDAS will support the Legal Department of the MoMP to write and administer investor-friendly laws and regulations for mining industry.
The aim is to transform the ministry from an operator in the extraction industry, to a regulatory body that administers, protects and develops the nations’ mineral resources.
Mineral Exploration and Capacity Building for the Ministry of Mines
A wealth of minerals lie beneath Afghanistan including gold, copper, silver, iron ore, and rare earth metals (essential for the production of computers and cell phones). But before mining development can begin, the mineral deposits must be found.
USAID MIDAS is assisting the ministry to develop a “pipeline” of mineral projects for tender and development. Ministry expertise will be improved to explore for mineral deposits, including drilling, mapping, and sampling. Special on-budget funds are designated for drilling exploration activities. Once identified, USAID MIDAS will help the ministry to promote mineral projects to international investors.
Private Sector Development
Afghan businesses and job seekers have had little success winning contracts or jobs with large mining developments. USAID MIDAS has made it a priority to build the skills of small and medium-sized Afghan businesses to participate in the mining value chain.
Our approach will focus on developing the skills of firms in the areas of construction, transportation, geosciences, and operational services. USAID MIDAS will empower Afghan training institutes to train local businesses, ensuring up-to-date training can be obtained locally for many years to come.
An important aspect of private sector development is community engagement. MIDAS supports improved communications between the community, government, and mining firm with the development of a participatory planning process. Specialized mining committees, community development agreements, and local content policies will be created to cement the bond between stakeholders and ensure all who have a stake in mining development are heard.
For more information, please refer to the MIDAS Fact Sheet
For any other questions, please contact the USAID MIDAS Communication’s Department (firstname.lastname@example.org)