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3,500 tons of lapis lazuli stones ready for sale: Traders

3,500 tons of lapis lazuli stones ready for sale: Traders

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12 Jul 2021 - 17:29
3,500 tons of lapis lazuli stones ready for sale: Traders
author avatar
12 Jul 2021 - 17:29

FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): Lapis lazuli traders in northeastern Badakhshan province say legalizing lapis lazuli business would help circulate millions of Afghanis in the market as thousands of tons of the mineral are ready for sale.

President Ashraf Ghani recently legalized sales and purchase of lapis lazuli stones in the country.

Around seven years ago, the sales and purchase of the stone was stopped following a presidential order.

HedayatullahIbrahimi, head of Precious and Semi-Precious Stones Association in Badakhshan, welcomed the new order of the president, saying that the decision was made in accordance with the suggestion of lapis lazuli traders and the sale and purchase of the stone has been legalized.

Based on this order, traders can only sell or buy lapis lazuli stones previously extracted but new extraction of the mineral is still illegal, he said.

He said that each trader is responsible to pay 105 Afghanis as tax to the government for each seven kilograms of lapis lazuli stone. The sale of lapis lazuli stones would benefit the government and traders, he said.

Ibrahimi said that the president had promised to allow development of lapis lazuli mines in Badakhshan in the next six months.

Around 3,500 tons of lapis lazuli stones are ready for sale in Badakhshan, Panjshir and Kabul provinces, he added, saying that the business would circulate millions of Afghanis in the market.

He said that currently a kilogram of the mineral was sold for 50 to 500 US dollars in the country.

Meanwhile, Safiullah, a resident of Juram district of Badakhshan, said that he started business of the mineral 13 years ago and he had good income from it.

However, he said that he had invested nine million Afghanis in the lapis lazuli stones before the president ordered illegalizing the mineral seven years ago. He said that a large amount of his money stuck in the mineral business.

Economists also welcomed the government’s decision on the lapis lazuli business.

Samiullah, an economist, believes that whenever the government legalized the extraction of gold and lapis lazuli, it would help Afghanistan economy.

“Badakhshan mines are in fact the country’s material assets, presence of mines caused the province to become unstable. If the president provides security for Badakhshan and takes control of its mines, I am sure Badakhshan would be able to fulfill all economic needs of the country in a short period of time,” he said.

He said that legalizing lapis lazul mines extraction would also help thousands of people to get jobs and circulate investments.


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