Report / Nov. 15, 2012

Copper Bottomed? Bolstering the Aynak contract: Afghanistan’s first major mining deal

Click here to read the associated press release.


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As Afghanistan looks to its future beyond transition in 2014, it is vital that the right foundations are put in place to ensure that the country’s mineral potential translates to real benefits for the Afghan people. This Global Witness report offers the first look of its kind at the Aynak copper contract, the most significant mining deal signed to date in Afghanistan.

‘Copper Bottomed?’ highlights positive standards and protections in the Aynak contract which are to be welcomed, but also identifies serious weaknesses which, if not addressed, threaten to undermine the deal. Getting this contract right is essential to ensuring that the Aynak project benefits the Afghan people as a whole, and to establishing the right basis for the future of Afghanistan’s mining sector.

The report urges lessons to be learned from the Aynak experience, and calls for:

  • Full publication of the Aynak contract and all major ancillary agreements, sub-contracts and key project information;
  • Urgent revision and clarification of the economic provisions including terms on royalties and rights to other resources to ensure they are mutually fair and unambiguous; and
  • Publication of detailed processes for implementation of the contract. These processes should provide a voice for local communities, guard against security risks and enable stronger and more open oversight and monitoring.

Click here to read the full report.


In December 2012, Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines issued a response to this report, which is available to read here on their website.

Global Witness' follow up response to these comments can be viewed here or downloaded below.