Illegal Extraction, Trafficking Of Lapis Lazuli Still Continue In Badakhshan

Kabul (BNA) Lapis Lazuli is one of the precious stones which has been extracting since three thousands yeas, in Keran-o-Menjan district from the mine of red stone.

In ancient Egypt this stone was used for making of jewelries and decorative equipment and the Lapis powder was used for decoration and eyes beauty. The green Lapis was known as Heaven’s Stone among Europe’s during middle ages. American geologists estimate that the values of Afghanistan underground mines in Badakhshan are over multi-billion dollars. Deputy Head of Mines Department of Badakhshan said that Badakhshan is rich like Saudi Arabia with mines. Although there are Lapis Lazuli mines in Pakistan, Siberia and Chile but Afghanistan is the main source of Lapis Lazuli mines particularly Badakhshan which is the biggest Lapis producing region in the world. It has been said that since thousands of years, Lapis has been extracted from this mine. The government collects taxes from each kilogram of Lapis sold to traders. According to local inhabitants Lapis Lazuli is exported to Pakistan and then it is sent to China for processing and making of jewelries. It is a concerning issue that Afghan and Pakistan traders and traffickers who smuggle Lapis to abroad escape from taxes that it damages the government revenues. The Afghan ministry of mines is trying to increase the benefit of this industry through decreasing of taxes and increasing of mines leasing and thus send original Lapis, Emerald and Topaz and other precious stones to the world enthusiasts. A local resident of Panjsher said that also it’s a threat but at the same time it is a good source of benefit to Badakhshan people. He said that they work hard and need to collect money. The quality of Badakhshan Lapis Lazuli mine has high position in the world.

Source: Bakhtar News

Arab News Express