Afghanistan is endowed with a broad range of mineral resources. Currently, the majority of mining throughout the country is comprised of informal and undocumented artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operations. The exact scope of excavation operations depends largely on the mineral commodity produced. In the case of gemstones, such as emeralds and rubies, small teams of miners use manual equipment such as pick-axes, shovels, and explosives to blast the host rock to access the minerals. Other mineral commodities like talc, coal, and chromite, as well as development minerals such as construction stone, sand, and gravel, are extracted using larger, semi-industrial methods. These operations are often well-organized, mechanized, and might employ over 100 workers at a site. Regardless of scale, these undocumented mining operations have an important economic and political impact that extends across regional and national boundaries. Efforts by Afghanistan's government to improve transactional capacity building through the formalization of ASM operations is complicated by their illicit, unregulated, and sometimes clandestine nature. However, with support and information provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and other U.S. agencies, the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) and the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS) plan to develop policies by which existing ASM operations can be integrated into Afghanistan's mineral resource development plan. This project is part of a larger effort by the USAID and the USGS to aid Afghanistan's economic redevelopment through scientific and technical guidance regarding its mineral resources. This data release contributes to the ASM formalization process through the documentation and cataloging of currently active ASM operations in Afghanistan in various priority mineral development regions of the country. The datasets published here were developed through visual interpretation of mining features from the most recently available very high-resolution satellite imagery for specific areas of interest (AOIs). Each AOI was determined based on priority areas established by previous USGS studies (Peters and others, 2007; Peters and others, 2011), along with available published and non-published geological references and input from the Afghanistan government. This data release contains polygon- and point-based shapefiles for each area of interest (AOI). Polygon-based shapefiles contain 1 km2 gridcells, each of which indicates the presence (and number) of mine sites recorded within its extent. Point-based shapefiles are derived from the 1 km2 gridcells and indicate the center points of the gridcells. Each gridcell or point is attributed with a count of mine sites located within the respective 1 km2 boundary, commodities mined at those sites, a confidence level for interpretation accuracy, the district and province in which the feature resides, and the acquisition year of the imagery used for interpretation. This dataset covers only specific areas and commodities of interest and does not represent a comprehensive catalog of all mining activity in Afghanistan.
Peters, S.G., Ludington, S.D., Orris, G.J., Sutphin, D.M., Bliss, J.D., and Rytuba, J.J., eds., and the U.S. Geological Survey-Afghanistan Ministry of Mines Joint Mineral Resource Assessment Team, 2007, Preliminary Non-Fuel Mineral Resource Assessment of Afghanistan: USGS Open-File Report 2007-1214. https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1214/
Peters, S.G., King, T.V.V., Mack, T.J., and Chornack, M.P., eds., and the U.S. Geological Survey Afghanistan Mineral Assessment Team, 2011, Summaries of important areas for mineral investment and production opportunities of nonfuel minerals in Afghanistan: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1204, 1,810 p. plus appendixes on DVD. https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2011/1204/
|Title||Inventory of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) in Balkhab: Points (2018)|
|Authors||Kelsey L O'Pry, Jessica D Dewitt, Pete Chirico|
|Product Type||Data Release|
|Record Source||USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog|
|USGS Organization||Florence Bascom Geoscience Center|