Research

Mining and Water Sectors

  • One of the main industries around which the Resource Corridor notion revolves is mining. Aynak copper mine involves the development not only of the mine itself but also an ore processing plant. 

  • According to the most recent available information, Aynak would have a capacity of 30 ktpd of ore for phase I and 60 ktpd in phase II1.  

  • The main natural resource inputs in the copper extraction process are water and energy.

  • Based on benchmark parameters, it is estimated that Aynak will require fresh water consumption at 225 l/s for phase I and 723 for phase II. In terms of power, the project would demand 52MW during phase I and an approximate 145MW during phase II2 .

  • The Kabul river basin serves the needs of Kabul city, its surrounding agricultural areas and Aynak mine.

  • The key challenge facing the basin is that although recycling process water can minimize water consumption at the mine, the aquifer under Kabul itself cannot supply the city’s needs.  The upper and middle Logar aquifers might be sufficient to supply the city, irrigate the area, and satisfy Aynak, if security stabilizes, allowing access to them.

  • However, under extreme scenarios of Kabul’s growth or of low or inaccessible supply from the aquifers water will not be sufficient. The win- win solution to mitigate this risk lies at the construction of a dam in the river basin,  if dam is cross-subsidized by Aynak’s tariffed use of water from its aquifer.

  • The approach of the project design values a criterion of flexibility as risk and uncertainty conditions are deeply present.

1For the moment these figures provide the soundest basis for estimating the mine’s input requirements. . A bankable feasibility study as well as contract changes have to confirm them. 

2Final figures to be verified.

Updated August 22, 2013