Photo: Taliban's Ministry of Mines and Petroleum

Taliban urges Chinese company to kick off Logar Mes Aynak copper project

Taliban’s Minister of Mines and Petroleum Shahabuddin Delawar in a meeting with the Deputy of Chinese Company, Metallurgical Corp of China (MCC), on Monday urged the company to promptly kick off the Logar Mes Aynak, copper mine project.

The Ministry said in a series of tweets that the Deputy of MCC discussed plans for initiating and implementing the Mes Aynak project, including the construction of roads for the project, transferring ancient artifacts, and exploring possible solutions to existing challenges.

Delawar was cited saying that the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has carried out every deliverable in line with the earlier contract that was inked with the MCC and demanded the company not to delay the project any further.

Last year, the MCC struck onto a renewed deal with the Taliban to invest in copper mine extraction from Mes Aynak, located in a barren region of eastern Logar province, but the project was put off for some reasons.

Delawar further added that a committee has been established between representatives of the Taliban Ministry, the Ministry of Information and Culture, and the MCC to transfer ancient artifacts from the Mes Aynak site.

The Logar Mes Aynak site contains the world’s second-largest copper deposit which looms as a major revenue source for Afghanistan. In 2008, the Chinese company MCC was awarded a contract under former President Hamid Karzai’s administration to recover the copper resources for the government of Afghanistan. The implementation of the Mes Aynak project has been ineffective for nearly 15 years.

It is unclear if the project will be fully implemented under the Taliban rule as many foreign investors fear insecurity and uncertainty in the country.