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Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) Activity in Afghanistan


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DeWitt, J.D., Chirico, P.G., and O'Pry, K.L., 2019, Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) Activity in Afghanistan: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


NOTE: this data release has been superseded with a new version. Version 3.0 can be found here. Afghanistan is endowed with a broad range of mineral resources. Currently, the majority of mining throughout the country is comprised of informal and undocumented artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operations. The exact scope of excavation operations depends largely on the mineral commodity produced. In the case of gemstones, such as emeralds and rubies, small teams of miners use manual equipment such as pick-axes, shovels, and explosives to blast the host rock to access the minerals. Other mineral commodities like talc, coal, and chromite, as well as development minerals such as construction stone, sand, and gravel, are extracted using [...]

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“Areas of Interest (AOIs) for which ASM data is published in this data release”
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This data release contributes to the ASM formalization process through the documentation and cataloging of currently active ASM operations in Afghanistan in various priority mineral development regions of the country. The datasets published here were developed through visual interpretation of mining features from the most recently available very high-resolution satellite imagery for specific areas of interest (AOIs). Each AOI was determined based on priority areas established by previous USGS studies (Peters and others, 2007; Peters and others, 2011), along with available published and non-published geological references and input from the Afghanistan government. This data release contains polygon- and point-based shapefiles for each area of interest (AOI). Polygon-based shapefiles contain 1 km2 gridcells, each of which indicates the presence (and number) of mine sites recorded within its extent. Point-based shapefiles are derived from the 1 km2 gridcells and indicate the center points of the gridcells. Each gridcell or point is attributed with a count of mine sites located within the respective 1 km2 boundary, commodities mined at those sites, a confidence level for interpretation accuracy, the - district and province in which the feature resides, and the acquisition year of the imagery used for interpretation. This dataset covers only specific areas and commodities of interest and does not represent a comprehensive catalogue of all mining activity in Afghanistan. Figure 1 indicates the extent of AOIs currently available with the dataset.
Areas of Interest (AOIs) for which ASM data is published in this data release
Areas of Interest (AOIs) for which ASM data is published in this data release


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DOI doi:10.5066/P9565EY6

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