Nawruz Message from H.E. Wahidullah Shahrani, Minister of Mines & Petroleum

My fellow citizens may I take this opportunity to wish you a peaceful and prosperous Nawruz.  As we start the New Year we have a chance to reflect on the past year and to look forward for the opportunities for Afghanistan.  Towards the end of this year 1391 we had the support of my fellow ministers to support the new Mineral law.   This will provide the basis for much needed investment in our mining sector as the rules and the basis in law is now there for all to see.  One of the key points in the early days of the New Year will be for our colleagues in Parliament to back this law for the benefit of our people.

We have some really important contracts being signed in the next few days which involve Afghan companies investing in small scale deposits in many parts of the country.  These will quickly start to employ Afghan workers and bring real benefits to our economy. Coal mine contracts have been signed for Samangan, Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan Provinces. In addition 60 other contracts have been signed in the past six months which will employ around 1,000 Afghan workers.

For the New Year other contracts will be signed in Balkh and Ghor Provinces.  The result will be more than 3,000 people employed in preparing, exploring and exploitation of these mines. 

Other larger scale contracts will start to be awarded in the next few months, ensuring that there is investment not just in mines, but in related infrastructure, new industry, new school and health facilities.

So as we start this New Year we need to show that this sector can bring benefits to the Afghan economy, bringing new jobs and opportunities to our people. Our Ministry will work with all parts of Afghan society to make this sector of mining and oil and gas something which really contributes to our joint future.