Located 25 miles outside Kabul, Afghanistan, the site the Chinese mining companies have zoned is the location of an ancient Buddhist walled city called Mes Aynak. (Photo : National Geographic)
A new documentary has revealed that two Chinese mining companies are planning on destroying an ancient Buddhist city for copper, according to an article by AsiaOne.com.
Located 25 miles outside Kabul, Afghanistan, the site the Chinese mining companies have zoned is the location of an ancient Buddhist walled city. Sources from the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum also have said that underneath the site is the second largest deposit of copper in the world.
According to the documentary titled “Saving Mes Aynak,” which was mostly filmed in 2013, Jiangxi Copper and Metallurgical Group Corp. (MCC) are already in the early stages of the process, with the construction of an open-pit copper mine underway. Meanwhile, archaeologists struggle to save the site.
MCC plans to extract copper deposits estimated to be worth over $100 billion, the documentary reported. In the process, Mes Aynak, the ancient Buddhist city, will be destroyed.
According to the AsiaOne.com report, Mes Aynak was leased to MCC during the administration of President Hamid Karzai in 2007 for 30 years. The company paid Afghanistan $3 billion.
Zabih Sarwari, a spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, said in an interview with CNBC that the project won’t start until feasibility tests are finished.
In addition, Sarwari has said that about 2,300 items have already been moved from the site and into the National Museum of Afghanistan.
“I feel pity if they allow it,” said Javed Noorani, who used to work for a nonprofit organization called Integrity Watch Afghanistan.
“The World Bank, in collaboration with the Afghan government, tried to remove the heritage [site] to safety, but this act in itself is a breach of international standards and laws on archaeology,” Noorani was quoted.
In “Saving Mes Aynak,” it was shown that local settlements in the area have been cleared to make way for the mining project.