[BenchTube] The Hidden Afghan Emerald Mines

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The Hidden Afghan Emerald Mines That Could Be Worth Billions
Runtime: 27:50

Hidden Gems: Afghanistan is not only a country in perpetual
turmoil, but also a geological miracle. Can they now harness
1,000 billion Euros worth of natural resources in order to lift
the nation out of poverty?

“We have a lot of requests from Europe because the Emeralds from
Afghanistan are the best in the world”, Raphael says. He’s a
Frenchman who first came to Afghanistan to train Afghan security
services before venturing into the emerald trade. He sees a huge
chance here to exploit a market that could easily increase in
value twenty or thirty-fold, but the obstacles are not
inconsiderable. Just to get to the mines Raphael has to travel
the 150 Kilometres from Kabul to Panjshir, right through Taliban
kidnap country. When he gets there he finds an industry in the
dark ages, where homemade pyrotechnics are exploded in poorly
dug mineshafts, killing many miners and ruining the quality of
up to 75% of the stones they dig. “If you see the damage being
done to these stones… so much is lost”, Yama Torabi from
Integrity Watch Afghanistan tells us. The government here
remains hopelessly out of touch with the industry that “still
(uses) a mining law adopted 100 years ago”. But as the country
prepares for elections and Europeans like Raphael open up the
gem trade here, could this be a beacon of hope for the future?

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