The Government of Afghanistan, through the Ministry of Mines of Afghanistan, has announced that the submitted bids were opened yesterday for the exploration and subsequent exploitation of two licence areas at the Balkhab copper project.
A preferred bidder for the Balkhab project will be announced shortly.
Balkhab in north central Afghanistan is one of four major mining areas that the Afghanistan government is currently seeking international firms to exploit.
It also expects to extract gold from the Badakhshan area in northern Afghanistan, copper and gold from Zarkashan in the south west and copper from Balkhab and Shaida Herat. Commercially exploiting all four areas will demand signficant infrastructure upgrades.
Balkhab is located in the Sar-I-Pul and Balkh Provinces in north central Afghanistan, approximately 130km south-southwest of Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province. There is evidence of mineral extraction activities at Balkhab going back almost 3,000 years, likely to have been through mining of copper via surface and underground workings.
Road access to the site is from Mazar-i-Sharif, and the area has the potential to benefit from a proposed rail link connecting Afghanistan to Pakistan. The Chaman-Kandahar-Logar province line is proposed to pass just east of the project area with a station planned at near-by town Ghazni. The closest power source identified is at Mazar-i-Sharif which is connected to the North East Power System main isolated grid. The main water source for the project is the significant stream, Rode Balkhab, which bisects the licence area.