Hajigak - The jewel of
Hajigak, Afghanistan’s biggest iron mine, represents a major
opportunity for the government, the population and surrounding local
communities. The iron discovered in Hajigak has charmed investors
and could provide the Afghan state with regular revenues for the
IWA’s latest report on the mining sector “Hajigak – The Jewel of
Afghanistan” provides a study on the social, economic and political
circumstances surrounding the development of the mine. The
communities in and around Hajigak are inhabited by people who may be
categorized in the lower strata of economic well-being according to
their level of vulnerability. The social investment that is supposed
to accompany contracts with foreign investors can strengthen the
dialogue between the government and local communities, thereby
bringing the government closer to the people.
The economic impact may be local, regional and certainly national.
Social impact of investment may be both negative and positive.
People are now hopeful that investment in the mine will bring
positive changes in their lives. “I am sure the work on a mine will
provide us with job opportunities, and we will be able to sustain
ourselves better,” said Khan Ali. Moreover, the project can bring
many benefits to the region, including revenues and national
economic growth. The development of the infrastructure can also have
a multiplier effect.
Scrutiny of the government’s actions shows that the government must
enhance its capacities in several areas before the Hajigak iron ore
deposits go under the hammer. IWA is concerned about the timing of
the invitation for more investment in the minerals sector given that
the government is dwarfed by its responsibility to carry out the
regulatory obligations mandated by law.
The mining sector often provides one of the best hopes for windfall
gains; however there are serious social and environmental concerns
due to mining operation. The Afghan government must very careful in
not allowing one country dominate the mining sector of the country,
have clear sight of national interests, diversify the economy with
revenues from the mining sector and make sure its citizens benefit
from the contract. It must also disclose all deals signed on behalf
of Afghan people and ensure that proper regulation is not only
existent but also implemented in order to avoid recourse curse which
hunt some post-conflict countries such as the Democratic Republic of