FROM FUEL IMPORT AND RETAIL DISTRIBUTION TO CHROMITE MINING AND MUCH MORE
Significant new retail fuel and non-fuel mineral mining opportunities in Afghanistan are plentiful
OPPORTUNITY: EXPLORING AND MINING CHROMITE IN AFGHANISTAN
Afghanistan possesses some of the planet’s most rugged, complex, and diverse geology.
Located at the western end of the Himalayas, where the Indian subcontinent collided with Eurasia, the country has a unique geological foundation that creates thousands of mineral occurrences. Afghans always have known that their country sits on vast riches. In fact, some of the world’s oldest-known mines were established there to produce lapis for Egypt’s pharaohs. However, aside from accidental discoveries by locals seeking gold and gemstones, the vast majority of what lies underground has remained a mystery.
In the 1950s, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) launched Afghanistan’s first-ever geological surveys. Those surveys were quickly followed by teams from Britain’s and Germany’s geological surveys. In the 1970s, the former Soviet Union, in partnership with the Afghan Geological Survey, conducted the first thorough geological survey of the country. They discovered a potentially huge supply of mineral resources, including many world-class deposits, such as copper, iron, barite, sulfur, talc, chromite, magnesium, salt, marble, rubies, emeralds, lapis lazuli, nickel, mercury, gold, silver, lead, zinc, fluorspar, bauxite, beryllium, uranium, thorium, nepheline, and lithium.
From 2009 to 2011, the USGS and the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), in cooperation with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and the Afghan Geological Survey, embarked on an ambitious nationwide survey of the country’s vast mineral resources. The TFBSO program used legacy data to prioritize and identify areas offering the highest potential for exploration and commercial production. They combined that data with new analysis provided by hyperspectral surveys and geophysical and geological field assessments. Using the quantities of known and anticipated resources, the TFBSO calculated the gross in-place value of minerals in Afghanistan at $900 billion.
With a nominal gross domestic product of only about $10 billion dollars (and much of that attributable to foreign assistance), Afghanistan must have industrial development that produces sustainable wealth, creates jobs, and reduces that nation’s overreliance on international donors to fund its treasury and armed services. The potential for long-term employment and job growth in this transformational economic sector cannot be overstated and the potential benefits for foreign investors share the same upside. This understanding drives SODEVCO’s development of the strategic partnerships and alliances that, in turn, drive our success. Our established network of contacts in Afghanistan provides us access to key government ministries, provincial authorities, local communities, and other stakeholders critical to achieving our goals.
In March 2014, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum granted SODEVCO exclusive rights to explore, excavate, and develop a known chromite deposit in Kabul Province.
Chromite is highly desirable for use in chrome-plating and the production of corrosion-resistant, super alloys, nichrome, and stainless steel. Thanks to its high heat stability, chromite is also valuable as a refractory material.
SODEVCO was awarded a mineral development contract by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum based on the strength and experience of our management team, the technical acceptability of our proposal, and our reputation for delivering superior results. Complementing the strength of our business competencies is SODEVCO’s unwavering commitment to pursuing socially and environmentally conscious projects.
Chromite mineralization in the Logar Ophiolite Complex has been studied for decades. The United States Bureau of Mines (USBM) first recognized the deposits in the Logar area in 1949. That work identified several chromite deposit outcroppings, occurring as massive lenses, pods, and irregularly shaped bodies of the mineral.
From 1964 to 1966, the Department of Geology and Mines Survey of Afghanistan conducted further geological mappings—all confirmed large deposits of chromite. In the 1970s, Soviet and Afghan geologists launched a series of surveys across Afghanistan, including mineral exploration in the Kabul district, which again confirmed the existence of considerable chromite ore deposits.
Previous work undertaken by USBM included trenching and diamond drilling. The diamond drilling tested three of the largest deposits and a small, high-grade deposit, all situated in the northern cluster of deposits. USBM initially estimated a total ‘reserve’ of 180,000 tons concentrated in three deposits of which about 15 percent (27,000 tons) is considered high-grade metallurgical chromite. Subsequent work by USBM increased the chromite resource estimates to approximately 3 million tons “visible or probable” and a further 200,000 tons “possible.”
The abundance of chromite in Afghanistan is ideally positioned for rapid development, and SODEVCO is there on the ground, making it happen.
OPPORTUNITY: FUELING STABLE, ECONOMIC GROWTH IN AFGHANISTAN
In any marketplace, customers tend to value the convenience of a single-source, fuel supplier able to meet every need and deliver the greatest benefits from that supplier’s competitive fuel prices, management of fuel price risk, availability of trade credits, fuel quality control and management, and overall logistics.
That’s why SODEVCO is in Afghanistan. We’ve brought our people, expertise, equipment, resources, and commitment to becoming Afghanistan’s complete “go-to” solutions provider for commercial, government, and business opportunities in the energy sector. Our industrial, commercial and wholesale customers have come to know they can count on the quality, availability, and sharp pricing of SODEVCO’s top-quality fuels, other refined petroleum products, and our range of fuel-related services.
SODEVCO’s local resources and capabilities are driven by a spectrum of productive, international relationships. And our expert team on the ground in Afghanistan—including many well-trained, local Afghan professionals—is a credible, proven, trusted partner, providing aviation fuel, gas, and petrol and all the supporting services related to them.
SODEVCO successfully targets a wide range of customer sectors for retail and wholesale sales, including major commercial airlines, business aviation, corporate fleets, cargo carriers, regional carriers, fractional operators, government organizations, and private and military aircraft.
Our services include:
- Bulk fuel purchase, transport, storage and supply
- Temporary and rapid deployment of bulk fuel installations for expeditionary operations
- Construction and operation of vertical and horizontal fuel storage tanks
- Full-specification fuel testing laboratories and qualified laboratory technicians
- Pipeline construction and operation
- Turnkey management and supervision of day-to-day fuel operations
- The proven, superior nature of the refined, petroleum fuel products we sell, including transportation fuels, engine and other lubricants, and alternative/specialty fuels.
- Exceptional expertise and know-how – It’s one thing to supply a range of fuel products; it’s quite another to fully understand our wholesale and retail customers’ businesses and the diverse challenges facing their profitability and success. SODEVCO offers the on-staff experts and capabilities that can support each customer’s specialized, functional area.
- Rock-solid relationships with a spectrum of suppliers and resources – Internationally, including in Afghanistan, SODEVCO possesses exceptional, time-proven relationships with major fuel and fuel-servicing suppliers, each of whom regard us as a credible, rock-solid, reliable, and favored trading partner.
- Processes and reporting structure – SODEVCO’s back-office systems and automated reports enable meticulous management, tracking and reporting all activities for each account. We are preeminent in our abilities to shepherd the complexities of fuel invoicing and track all invoicing data required for the purchasing and delivery of and payment for fuels.
- Managing price risk – Fuel pricing is a bouncing ball; it’s simply the nature of the industry. SODEVCO is there to work with and protect you with our complete menu of risk-management pricing services.
WE‘RE CULTIVATING MORE THAN ONE BOTTOM LINE
Our work in Afghanistan also aims to protect the environment, while yielding pride, productivity, and lasting economic benefits for the Afghan people.
It goes without saying that the financial success of SODEVCO’s ventures in Afghanistan is essential to the company’s future well-being. However, our broad vision of “success” in Afghanistan encompasses much more, as expressed by our corporate mission and the missions of our multifaceted program in that nation. This includes:
- Responsible mining and retail fuel distribution that respects and supports the environment – Any type of mining—surface or sub-surface—is a challenging and complex undertaking. As a result, mining-related disruptions can sometimes negatively affect physical environments (e.g., through loss of habitat or via surface and ground water contamination) and the quality of life in local communities.
It also is true that retail fuel stations and depots may pose significant threats to the environment—especially ground water—through leaking tanks or the careless disposal of waste.
That’s why SODEVCO’s teams and partners are imbued with a heightened awareness to those challenges and a commitment to developing a range of highly effective programs and responses for protecting the areas of Afghanistan where we operate—both above and below ground.
SODEVCO’s geologists, mining engineers, and on-the-ground administrators and partners are all committed to building businesses that are known and respected for avoiding or minimizing harm to the environment. Equally so, those running our wholesale petrol, diesel, and aviation fuel operations are highly trained, employing state-of-the-art technology and the superior resources to ensure that sites under and around our stations and depots are safe from environmental harm.
Committed to minimizing negative impact on the environment, we carefully and continually evaluate our options for land and resource use. SODEVCO has a 24/7 focus on preserving ecologically important areas, by reducing environmental impacts on vegetation and habitat and minimizing pollution of all types at all times.
- Workforce development that drives lasting, measurable benefits – SODEVCO and our partners are committed to locally-focused programs that (1) create jobs providing fair wages and safe, secure, healthy, and respectful work conditions; and (2) provide substantive, technical job training.
In the end, our hope is that, through increased access to quality training, job placement, and related support services, SODEVCO will be widely recognized as a significant contributor to the development of a more qualified, demand-driven labor force in Afghanistan, one that proves valuable in a broad spectrum of key economic sectors.
- Conducting ourselves and our business in a manner that is respectful of local cultures, customs and conventions of the societies in which we operate – Forging close, ministry-level relationships within Afghanistan’s national government, SODEVCO enjoys and continues to foster close-knit, friendly, and open relationships with local community leaders and those whom they represent.