Afghanistan has moderate to potentially abundant coal resources. However, most deposits are relatively deep or currently inaccessible, and reserves are largely undeveloped. Historically, coal has been used in the country for powering small industries (notably cement production, textile manufacturing, and food processing) and as a primary source of household fuel. The main factors limiting widespread use of coal are rugged terrain, lack of transportation networks, and the absence of industrial infrastructure.
Scientists with the USGS Coal Project carried out comprehensive assessments of Afghanistan’s coal resources beginning in 2005 in cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Industries (MMI). Various agencies of MMI involved in this cooperative effort included the Afghan Geological Survey (AGS), the North Coal Department (NCD), and the Coal Mines Section of the Mining Affairs Department. The primary focus of these assessments was to determine the quality, quantity, and distribution of coal throughout Afghanistan, identify the stratigraphic and areal extent of coal deposits, and quantify coal resources on a regional and national level. Assessment activities were conducted in close cooperation with MMI as well as other governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders to assure that the Afghan coal mining sector can be developed in a safe, sustainable, environmentally sound, and economically rational way.
A list of all USGS Coal Project publications is available here.