A five years exclusive contract has been granted to the Australian Fortescue Future Industries, by the government of Afghanistan. The signing has sparked some controversy, as certain people claim this to be a “national treason”. The contract grant allegedly grants the Australian mining company rights to the extraction of Gold, Copper, Iron, Lithium, and other rare minerals.
The legality of the contract
Legal experts claim that this move is illegal, with the National Directorate of Security deeming this as an act of national treason. One MP claims that the Afghan government does not have the authority to hand over such contracts without due process, which includes bidding.
The current plan includes exploration in the provinces of Kandahar, Badakhshan, Herat, Bamiyan, Panjshir, Nimroz, Ghazni, Helmand, Daykundi, Kunar, and Nuristan.
The government is fending its actions by claiming that the Australian company has followed protocol, and has carried out an economic survey, and expressed a willingness to invest in the mineral exploration in Afghanistan. They also claim that the company will ensure that its operations will comply with the laws of the host country. According to one official, the company will first conduct a study and explore the mines, before they exercise their right to extract the mines. Additionally, the very same company has also been awarded the contracts for the construction of five large dams on the Amur, Helmand, Kunar rivers.