China company demands revision of Aynak Logar copper mining deal

A Chinese company has demanded revision of Aynak Logar copper mining contract in Afghanistan.

Located some 40 km southeast of Kabul, the mining site at Mes Ayank ( also known as Mis-e-Ainak) holds the world’s second-largest copper deposit with 5.5 million tons of high-grade ore in the barren Logar Province, which was once a major Buddhist settlement.

Officials of the Chinese state-owned company asked the Afghan Deputy Prime Minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi to ‘solve fundamental issues’ to start work on the Aynak Logar copper mining project.

China signed the USD 2.83 billion deal in 2008 during Ashraf Ghani rule. And it was one of Chinese sizeable overseas investments in the copper sector. 

Jiangxi Copper, the biggest refined copper producer of China, partnered with Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC), a subsidiary of another Chinese state enterprise, for the deal with the Afghan government to mine the project for 30 years.

Deteriorating security environment after the Taliban takeover of the country has injected uncertainties in mining project.     

Logar is one of the insecure provinces in Afghanistan with a strong presence of various insurgent groups. Its Buddhist heritage is spread over 20 locations and include   numerous 5th-6th century monasteries. (SAT)