Scientists with the USGS Mineral Resources Project worked closely with Afghan colleagues from 2005 through 2014 to help identify and assess Afghanistan’s mineral resources, which are vital to the country’s industrial growth and development. Between 2005 and 2007, a USGS minerals team worked with scientists and staff from the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS) to collect and consolidate existing information about known mineral deposits. They also acquired new data to help evaluate the existence of as-yet-undiscovered mineral resources throughout the country.

The product of this cooperative effort was the 2007 Preliminary Assessment of Non-Fuel Mineral Resources of Afghanistan (and a summarizing fact sheet). The assessment revealed that Afghanistan has abundant non-fuel mineral resources, including both known and potential deposits of a wide variety of minerals ranging from copper, iron, and sulfur to bauxite, lithium, and rare-earth elements.

Following the assessment, two dozen mineralized Areas of Interest (AOIs) were selected for further study. From 2009 through early 2011, geologists with USGS and the Department of Defense Task Force for Stability Operations (TFBSO) worked with AGS to compile detailed digital data about AOI mineral deposits. Field-checked data were then combined with additional information to create mineral resource Information Packages to aid in the development of Afghanistan’s mineral resources. This work culminated in the 2011 report, Summaries of Important Areas for Mineral Investment and Production Opportunities of Nonfuel Minerals in Afghanistan, and a summarizing fact sheet. The report consists of an overview of each AOI and its associated hyperspectral mapping analysis and geohydrologic summary. High-resolution versions of the figures for the hyperspectral mapping analysis can be downloaded here.

USGS also developed an interactive viewer that allows users to download the Information Packages as well as preview and explore the data that went into creating them. Additionally, USGS created an online presentation viewer — the Afghanistan Minerals Information System (AMIS) — for Task Force members to use in presentations to government officials about USGS mineral exploration activities within the AOIs


 Access the Mineral Resource Information Packages.

View the 2011 Minerals Summaries Report here.

A list of all USGS Minerals Project publications is available here.