KABUL, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Afghanistan's mineral deposits may worth 3 trillions U.S. dollars and the government would utilize it for building economy and development, Afghan Minister for Mines Waheedullah Shahrani said on Thursday.
"The minerals and untapped treasures in the country may value 3 trillions U.S. dollars," Shahrani told a news conference here.
He made the remarks just days after the U.S. influential daily The New York Times citing United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that Afghanistan has mineral deposits worth one trillion U.S. dollars.
"More study and survey needed to identify and explore the underground resources," Shahrani emphasized.
Afghanistan has huge untapped natural resources which have enormous potential for our economic development and growth, the minister said.
However, he also said that there are challenges and security remains a big challenge in the country especially in the south to explore minerals.
According to the minister lack of corridors and major highways in the land-locked militancy-plagued, Afghanistan is also among the challenges to explore the natural resources properly.
The Ministry of Mine has been closely working with the international organizations including World Bank and United States Geological Survey to ensure that the war-torn country benefit from its rich natural resources.
According to the official, the biggest deposits discovered so far are iron and copper the quantities are large enough to make post-Taliban Afghanistan a major world producer of minerals.
However, Afghanistan which mired with over three decades of war does not have any mining industry or infrastructure to explore natural resources properly, so it will take decades for the country to exploit its untapped underground treasury appropriately.