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Samangan marbles being used in Parliament building

Samangan marbles being used in Parliament building

Jan 27, 2011 - 17:16

AIBAK (PAN): About 5,000 tonnes of marbles that would be extracted from a newly discovered mine in northern Samangan province, would be used in the construction of the new Parliament building, officials said on Thursday.

Located in the Koh Khers hill, 40 kilometres east of the provincial capital Aibak, the mine was discovered two months ago by the Sang-i-Takht-i-Rustum Company, said the governor's spokesman, Muhammad Siddiq Azizi.

The high-quality metamorphic limestone would be used in the Parliament building in the Dar-ul-Aman neighbourhood of Kabul, the spokesman told Pajhwok Afghan News. Work on the Indian-funded project, which will cost $125 million (5.6 billion afghanis), was launched on Dec. 2008.

A 5,000 tonnes extraction contract had been signed between Sang-i-Takht-i-Rustum and Malakzada companies, under which per ton marble would be extracted for 500 afghanis ($11.11) for six months, said the Samangan director of mines, Abdul Latif Wahidi.

The stone was supposed to be imported from India. However, at a request from the minister of mines, India agreed to purchase the Samangan marble.

According to Wahidi, a team of engineers from the Ministry of Mines recently surveyed the mine. The marbles are brushed in Kabul and northern Balkh province. Bids for the mine development are expected in the near future.

After a detailed survey of the mine, a marble company should be set up in the area, suggested Mohammad Saleh, a resident.

Such a company would create work opportunities for the youth and prevent the smuggling of marbles, Wahidi believed.

Although there are several marble mines in the country, the production cost is higher than imports from Pakistan due to higher power tariffs and taxes in Afghanistan.