September 30, 2011 5:41 AM EDT
USGS Finds 'World-Class' Gold, Iron Deposits in Afghanistan
By Shailesh Shrivastava
The study found major gold deposits in southeastern Afghanistan's Badakhshan area with the capacity of as much as 958 kilograms. Apart from gold, the area also has silver, copper and uranium as minor or possible commodities.
In 2002, the USGS compiled a digital inventory of more than 1,079 mines and mineral occurrences in Afghanistan, of which 112 were gold-related.
Deposits of iron will be the second biggest mineral deposit to contribute to transforming the nation's economy. According to the study, the Hajigak area contains 1.7 billion tons of iron and iron ore.
A study in 1960s demonstrated the mineral potential of the region, and estimated, at that time, the Hajigak resource as having a concentration of approximately 62 percent iron, classifying it as "truly significant" on a global scale.
Among many minerals, Afghanistan also has vast deposits of celestite containing about 1 million tons. Deposits in the Kunduz area are believed to have 76.9 percent concentration of celestite.
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