Afghanistan could be sitting on mineral deposits worth $1 trillion according to US estimates, reports Al Jazeera.
The deposits are mainly copper but also include gold, iron ore, uranium and precious stones, such as emeralds.
US hydrologists and mining engineers are working with Afghans southeast of Kabul to conduct tests to determine whether mining activity can be supported. It could be up to 10 years before new mine operations are established.
Afghanistan hopes to rely on its natural resources to support the national economy following the pull-out of NATO forces in 2014.
Current mining revenue in the country is estimated at $146 million annually. By 2024, the finance minister estimates mining will contribute $4 billion to the government and $20 billion to the overall economy.
Image: Al Jazeera screengrab