Mes Aynak Copper Mine



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Afghan War News > General Info > Development > Mes Aynak Copper Mine

Mes Aynak Copper Mine

There are significant deposits of copper located in the northeastern area of Logar province in Mohammad Agha district near the village of Mes Aynak. This is also the site of an ancient settlement that has great archeological value. Reportedly the site is the world's second largest copper deposit.

Archeological Site. There are over 400 Buddha statues and a large monestery at this location. In addition, there are indications that there is a 5,000-year-old Bronze Age site at this same location. Unfortunately, this archeological site is at risk because of the huge copper deposits underneath.

China Metallurgical Group. The Chinese firm has a 30-year lease for the development of the copper mine granted by the Ministry of Mines. Currently progress is slow because of several factors including the media focus on the archeological site, the poor security situation in Logar province, corruption of members of the Afghan government and security forces (they always have their hand out of money), and lack of skilled workers and infrastructure to develop the mine and transport the copper out to customers. It has been reported that China 1. is going slow with the development of the mine because of the poor security situation in Logar province and Taliban demands for compensation to allow the mine to operate.

Afghanistan Geological Survey.  A part of the Ministry of Mines, the Afghanistan Geological Survey provides info on Afghan geology, the mining industry, and minerals. The website is available here.

Websites about the Mes Aynak Copper Mine

Mes Aynak. By WikipediA.

Aynak Copper Exhibition - National Museum of Afghanistan

Support of SDNRP to Aynak Compliance Monitoring (GAF). Ministry of Mines.

Q&A: Aynak and Mining in Afghanistan. The World Bank.

Saving Mes Aynak. A story of a race against time to save a 5,000-year-old archeological site in Afghanistan threatened by a Chinese state-owned copper mine.

Photos of the Mes Aynak Copper Mine

Photos of Mes Aynak Archaeological Excavation.>

Photos of Mes Aynak Copper Mine. . . . photos . . .

Kartemquin Films, Saving Mes Aynak, July 2014. A story of the race against time to save a 2,000-year-old Buddhist archaeological site in Afghanistan threatened by a Chinese copper mine.

Publications, Briefings, and Reports about Mes Aynak
(listed in chronological order)

Benard, Cheryl, Eli Sugarman, and Holly Rehm. Cultural Heritage vs. Mining on the New Silk Road? Finding Technical Solutions for Mes Aynak and Beyond, Conference Report, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Silk Road Studies Program, December 2012.

Engel, Nicolas. New Excavations in Afghanistan: Mes Aynak, National Museum of Afghanistan, 2011.

Global Witness, Copper Bottomed? Bolstering the Aynak contract: Afghanistan's first major mining deal, November 2012.

Huntzinger, Emmanuel. Aynak Copper Mine: Opportunities and Threats for Development from a Sustainable Business Perspective, January 2008. A report by Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) of  a study conducted in the summer of 2007.

Videos about the Mes Aynak Copper Mine

The Buddhas of Mes Aynak, by Brent Huffman, American Institute for Roman Culture, May 15, 2013.

Campaign to Save Mes Aynak, Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage (ARCH) International, February 3, 2012. (5 minutes). The site dates back to the Bronze Age (5,000 years of history) but it is liable to be destroyed by a copper strip mining endeavor.

Mes Aynak Full Story, Dan Rather reports, (30 mins), December 1, 2012.

Maps Related to Mes Aynak Copper Mine

Mineral Maps of Afghanistan. Afghan Cadastre Maps.

Map of Afghan Mineral Tenders.

News Reports about Mes Aynak Copper Mine

September 28, 2023, "Beneath the Sands of Mes Aynak", by Barbara O'Brien, The Religious History Nerd.

November 5, 2022, "Work on Mes-Aynak to Begin Soon", Tolo News.

September 23, 2015. "Race to save lost temple city at risk from its own wealth", by Andrew Lawler, New Scientist.

July 15, 2015. "Can a film help save an Afghan archeological site before it's turned into an open-pit mine?", Los Angeles Times.

July 1, 2015. "5,000-Year-Old Afghan Historic site Under Threat From Chinese Mining Company". Newsweek.

May 20, 2015. "The Fight to Save an Ancient Buddist City in Afghanistan". By Brent E. Huffman, The World Post.

May 4, 2015. "Buddha Purnima: Ancient Buddhist city in Afghanistan could be destroyed by copper mining". International Business Times.

May 3, 2015. "Mes Aynak: A Story of Courage and a Priceless World Treasure in Afghanistan". Popular Archaeology. A worldwide campaign to save the ancient site from open pit copper mining is facing huge odds.

February 7, 2015. "Copper mines threat to Afghanistan's Buddhist past". The Scotsman.

November 30, 2014. "MPs Calls for Action on Aynak Copper Mine". Tolo News.

August 26, 2014. "Mes Aynak saga continues". Registan.

August 25, 2014. "China and Afghanistan's Minerals: Archaeologist Still Scrambling to Save Mes Aynak". International Business Times.

August 26, 2013. "Landmark Chinese cooper deal with Afghanistan at risk". The Chinese firm(s) want to renegotiate the contract due to the lack of security in Wardak.

July 30, 2013. "Afghan mining deal with China facing failure". DW. Access story here.

June 30, 2013. "Struggle is on to save a key Buddhist city near Kabul". Gulf News. Access story here.

June 10, 2013. "Saving the Buddhas of Mes Aynak". The Diplomat. Access story here.

May 31, 2013. "Mes Aynak: Afghanistan's Buddhist buried treasure faces destruction". The Guardian. Access story here.

May 23, 2013. "Mes Aynak highlights Afghanistan's dilemma over protecting heritage". The Guardian. Access story here.

January 8, 2013. "Mes Aynak Turned Into a Copper Mine". Travel Culture Magazine. Access story here.

December 22, 2012. "Ancient Buddhas, Modern Peril", by Andrew Lawler, The New York Times.

September 24, 2012. "Ancient site needs saving not destroying", CNN Opinion.

September 2012. "Time Ticks Away for Ancient Afghanf Monasteries", by Andrew Lawler,, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

July 31, 2011. "Warlords, government capacity threaten Afghan mining: watchdog". Access story here.

March 2011. "Ten Years After Buddhas Destroyed, Afghans Work to Save Monastery", by Andrew Lawler,, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Jan / Feb 2011. "Mining Afghanistan's Past", by Andrew Lawler, Archaeology.

July 30, 2010. "Copper Mine Threatens Ancient Monastery in Afghanistan", by Andrew Lawler,, American Association for the Advancement of Science.




1. For more on the slow progress on the mining effort see "Afghan mining deal with China facing failure",, July 31, 2013 accessed here.




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