Afghan geophysicists and geologists have attended training sessions in Finland and Iran to be able to prospect the mineral resources of Afghanistan successfully in future.The first phase of a training project of Afghan geophysicists will end this autumn.
The five-year project is conducted by the Geological Survey of Finland. The objective has been to improve the capacity of the staff of the Afghanistan Geological Survey (AGS) and the Afghan Ministry of Mining and Petroleum (MoMP) to explore and manage the country's mineral resources.
Geophysics refers to prospecting and surveying the physical properties of the Earth. Measurement and simulation tools are used to gain information about geological deposits, such as ores and oil, at a depth of even several kilometres.
Geophysics is also used in groundwater and environmental surveys; besides mineral resources, this project supported by Finland includes a survey of groundwater resources.
Disseminating information is important
The first training sessions in 2013 focused on technical skills and they were held in Finland. In 2016, the training was continued in Iran in environments that resemble more the geology of Afghanistan.
The Finnish specialists took responsibility for the content and objectives of the training also in Iran, while the Geological Survey of Iran (GSI) took care of the devices, travel and support services.
The training in Iran in autumn 2016 was attended by nine, in spring 2017 by twelve Afghans, as well as Iranian specialists and students. The training will continue this autumn.
The project includes presentation of results and expertise, dissemination of information and training of other parties. The participants are lecturers specialising in introduction to field geophysics and measuring techniques at Kabul Polytechnic University.
“The cooperation and training partners in Afghanistan have embraced the project, which is the most important matter from the point of view of learning and development,” says Fredrik Karell from the Geological Survey of Finland.
The project supports Finnish business activities. At the initial phase of the project, the participants visited Finnish companies, met people at the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Afghanistan and the Fennoscandian Exploration and Mining Fair in Levi, Finland.
When the training was transferred to Iran, presence there and the established networks opened up opportunities for direct marketing of Finnish mining and geological expertise.
A group of Finnish mining technology companies took part in a visit to Iran at the beginning of this year. The visit belonged to Team Finland’s Mining Finland Growth Program and it was organised in cooperation with the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development & Renovation Organization (IMIDRO).
In 2013–2017, EUR three million is allocated from Finnish development cooperation appropriations to the training of Afghan mining sector staff.
The author of the article works as Communications Officer at the Department for Communications of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She has prepared the text based on material from the Geological Survey of Finland.