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Govt urged to speed up implementation of Mes Aynak copper project

Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: The Rana Think-tank called on Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) to resume the work of the Aynak copper called as Mes-e-Aynak project, asking the government to pave the ground for the company.

Afghan government contracted the project with the MCC in 2008.  After some primary discoveries, the work delayed to obligate the government for amendments on the contract.

Analysts in the Rana Think-tank session expressed concern about the long postponement of the project, calling the delay on the project, an irrecoverable damage to the national economy.

They said that the MCC put off the project for eight years to take some privileges and advantage contrariwise of the agreement and government has remained negligence toward the welfare project so far.

According to economic value of copper, Aynak copper project is counted as the second big mine of copper in the world, costing billions of dollars with multiple pricey minerals. It takes more than 30 years to mine and process its copper.

Participants of the session said that the MCC has delayed the mining of copper to obligate government to adjust the agreement articles.

Economist Mohammad Rahim Qasimi said that the MCC wants to decline the royalty payment and avoid for payment of premium to the government, and insists government to hand over the entire area.

Qasimi said according to the agreement, the MCC is responsible to act based on its commitment for mining and processing of copper in the Mes Aynak project.

“The MCC pretexts insecurity, existence of historical memorials and lack of phosphate mineral in the Aynak project for pressing pure copper as a great challenge, while this mineral is accessible in neighboring countries,” asserted.

“So far, the negation is going on between Afghan government and the MCC over revise of the agreement.”

“MCC is obligated to start the work of mining in the Mes Aynak project based on the agreement; government is responsible to pave the ground for MCC to resume the work of welfare project,” he asserted.

He claimed Mes Aynak mine has many other expensive minerals like gold, zinc, and cobalt, silver which were not included in the agreement.

According to investigation carried out by the former Soviet Union, Afghanistan has adequate coal mines and can provide energy for terminal power plant, but MCC claims that they would not build thermal power plant in Bamyan because this province has not good enough coal mines to provide electricity for copper processing in Ayank project.

The analysts demanded from government to aware people about the advantage of Mes Aynak project and resume the work welfare project as soon as possible.

NASA space agency of USA has estimated the value of Mes Aynak project around $247 billion and former officials in MoMP predicated Aynak excavation would take 70 years to process the cooper.

The significant achievement of the Mes Aynak project is digging 48 deep exploratory wells for identifying of the copper mine, arrangement of operation plan for displaced families in the area, construction of two high schools, establishment of township with capacity of 512 plots for displace families, construction of one masque and digging two potable well for people .

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