Gemstone hunter
Gemstone hunter
Gary Bowersox, The Gem Hunter
Gary Bowersox, The Gem Hunter

7th Symposium on the Gems and Minerals of Afghanistan - Speakers

Background Information on Principal Speakers

Khudai Nazar Akbari
Project Manager,
Afghan Expeditions - GeoVision, Inc.
Kabul, Afghanistan

Khudai Akbari was born in Charikar, Afghanistan. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Mr. Akbari worked for the Norwegian Afghan Committee in Peshawar and Afghanistan as translator. For the last seven years Mr. Akbari has lead expeditions to the lost spinel mines in Badakhshan, the Lapis mines at Sar-e-Sang, the emerald mines of Panjsher, and to the ruby mines of Jegdalek. He has arranged and been involved in planning and coordinating all of GeoVision, Inc's projects in Afghanistan. He has arranged and spoken at numerous meetings with commanders, the Ministry of Mines and Industry and the president of Afghanistan.

Abdul Baki
Exploration and Extraction
Nuristan, Afghanistan

Mr. Baki is a Nuristan leader who gathered 2000 soldiers for the Mujahideen. Since 1979 he has been aiding the people of Afghanistan. He was the first man to give King Zahir Shah a gift of Tourmaline which he mined from Dare-Pache with the following people: Ajee Makam Khan, Fazel Manan Pacha, and Malik Shir Muhammad Khan. He gave the plan on how to mine the tourmaline of Dare-Pache to King Zahir Shah and President Dawood Khan in the early 1970's. Unfortunately these two people had other plans and other situations to take care of at that time.

Dr. Bhappu Roshan Bhappu, Ph.D. Sc.
President,
Mountain States R & D, Inc.
Vail, Arizona

Dr. Bhappu is a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines in Metallurgical and Mining Engineering. He is President and Founder of Mountain States Research and Development, Inc. which designs processing and sorting equipment to separate gemstones from the host rock. He consults with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on gem and gold mining projects throughout the world. He is past president of Mining Engineers of America. Currently he is working on a consulting contract for emerald mining in Pakistan.

Gary Bowersox Gary Bowersox
President,
GeoVision, Inc.
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Symposium Chairman

Mr. Bowersox received his BBA degree from Western Michigan University where he continued his post-graduate studies in the field of finance and investments. After graduation he joined the United States Army and obtained the rank of Major during the Viet Nam war. After his honorable discharge from the US Army, he worked in the gem industry in Brazil, Burma, Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Thailand. In 1973 he began working and surveying the gem mines of Afghanistan. During 1976 he was awarded the exclusive rights for the export of lapis to the United States. After the Russian invasion, Mr. Bowersox worked with the Mujahideen in developing the gem mines in Afghanistan. This entailed many potentially dangerous trips into Afghanistan during the war. In 1997, he was appointed as consultant to the Minister of Mines and Industry-Government of Afghanistan. He has conducted hundreds of lectures and six symposiums on the gem and mineral industry of Afghanistan. His articles(Gemstones of Afghanistan, Emeralds of Panjsher Valley, Afghanistan, and Ruby and Sapphire of Jegdalek, Afghanistan) and book Gemstones of Afghanistan have been regarded as the original and most complete study of Afghanistan's gems and minerals.

Eugene Foord, Ph.D.
Geologist-Mineralogist,
Mineral Research Team,
United States Geological Survey
Denver, Colorado

Dr. Foord received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1976 on the gem pegmatites of San Diego County. After graduation he specialized in the evaluation of mineral deposits, mineralogy, crystallography, and pegmatite genesis. He has more than 200 publications on geology and mineralogy, several of which are on gem materials of Afghanistan, and about 25 publications on gem materials in general. He lectured at the 1989 Symposium on Gems and Minerals of the Hindu Kush and has analyzed a large number of mine sample during the past eight years. He coauthored "Emeralds of the Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan" and the soon to be published "Ruby and Sapphire Mines Jegdalek, Afghanistan." He is coauthor of two books on mineralogy (Maine/Colorado) and Dana's New Mineralogy, and coauthored several papers in the book Emeralds of Pakistan by Kazmi and Snee.

Haris Hanifi Haris Hanifi, representing his father,
Aref Hanifi
CGI Corporation

v Mr. Aref Hanifi was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. He has been involved in the Import-Export Business between the US, Europe, China, India, and Hong Kong. After this he was involved in helping the Mujahideen, in particular, Khalil Nuristani and Ubydullah Niazi of Northern Afghanistan (Kapisa). His first encounter with gemstones was in Dar-e-Pache. He brought over Tourmaline and sold it in Peshawar and Karachi. His interest has always been in gemstones, especially since there are many gemstones to be mined from his region.

Darrold Holcomb Darrold Holcomb
Special Applications Consultant,
ERDAS, Inc.
Atlanta, GA

Mr. Holcomb has two degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a B.S. in Chemistry and M.S. in Geophysical Sciences. Mr. Holcomb has pursued a twenty-five year scientific career evolving from academic research at Georgia Tech to innovative commercial and experimental application of remote sensing technology on a global level. Through his affiliation with ERDAS, Mr. Holcomb has been involved over the last decade in applications of satellite imagery in such diverse fields as oil and mineral exploration, ocean mapping, vegetation studies and hydrology. He has developed an internationally respected expertise in software design for computer processing of satellite imagery, specifically radar data, for archaeological applications. In 1970, Mr. Holcomb traveled through Central Asia and Afghanistan. He provided satellite imagery and worked with archaeological expeditions in Turkmenistan in 1995 and Mongolia in 1997.

Alice Keller Alice S. Keller
Editor, Gems & Gemology
Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
Carlsbad, California

Alice joined GIA 17 years ago from a publishing background to redesign and refocus GIA's quarterly journal, Gems & Gemology. Under her direction, G&G has become the world's premier source of research on new sources of gem materials and critical problems in gemology, such as the identification of filled and synthetic emeralds and diamonds. Gems & Gemology has also won several awards from the American Society of Association Executives, including best scientific journal for both 1996 and 1997. A graduate of Cornell University (B.A.) and Georgetown University (M.A.), Alice has written several articles for G&G, edited two books, and lectured worldwide. She is the 1998 recipient of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the colored stone industry.

Jamal Khan
President,
Jegdalek Ruby Corporation
Peshawar, Pakistan

Mr. Jamal Khan was born in Jegdalek, Afghanistan. He has over twenty years experience in mining ruby and sapphire in the Jagdelek area. For eight years Jamal Khan has operated a ruby wholesale business in Namak Mandi, Peshawar City. He has been assisting Mr. Bowersox with his research in the Jagdalek area for the past six years. Currently he is active in marketing his ruby rough via his office in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Mirwaees Khan
Vice President,
Jegdalek Ruby Corporation
Peshawar, Pakistan

Mirwaees Khan was born in Jegdalek, Afghanistan. After completing medical training at University of Peshawar, Mr Khan joined his uncle in the ruby business. He worked in the ruby and sapphire mines at Jegdalek. For the last seven years he has assisted Mr. Bowersox in his research of the Jegdalek mining area. He is currently working with ruby miners to increase production of the mines. He has been buying and selling ruby for nine years.

Brendan Laurs

Brendan M. Laurs
Senior Editor
Gems & Gemology
Gemological Institute of America
Carlsbad, California

Mr. Laurs' background is in economic geology. He has a M.S. degree in geology from Oregon State University. His thesis was on the emerald mineralization at the Khaltaro granitic pegmatite-hydrothermal vein system, Haramosh mountains, northern Pakistan. His experience includes (1) geochemical sampling and data interpretation; (2) detailed geologic mapping and (3) the MSHA 40 hour Mine Safety course. Mr. Laurs has written or co-authored ten articles on the gemstone deposits of Pakistan.

Anwar Pacha Anwar Pacha
Nuristani Leader
Manpower for Gem Mining
Nuristan, Afghanistan

Anwar Pacha was born in Nuristan. He and his father, Fazel Manan Pacha, joined the Jihad in 1979. Together they organized the tribes, established hospitals and assigned doctors to care for the Mujahideen. From his great grandfather to present, his family has maintained leadership and a friendly relationship with other tribes in Northeastern Afghanistan. He has many followers in Mohamand, Safi, Salarzi, Mahmoond, Gujur, Shinwari tribes. Without these peoples, mining of gemstones is not possible.

Rohullah Sayed Rohullah Sayed
Kunar Gem Industry,
Kunar Province
Nuristan, Afghanistan

Rohullah Sayed received his degree from the Business Institute of Afghanistan. He is a very influential speaker in tribal meetings in Kunar, Nuristan. He was the first person in Afghanistan who was able to decode the messages from the Soviets in Afghanistan. Mr. Sayed was the first person to give the Europeans the Soviet designs of the Kalashnikov Rifle, the gunship helicopter, jets, rockets, and tanks. He started the Jihad against the communists in the Nuristan Valleys with Billal Gujur, Sunuk Ghazi, his sons, Malik Temur, Malik Manan, Wahid, AJee Akbar, Khalil Nuristani, and Malik Hydar. They took control of Nuristan from the Communists. Currently they control the gem mining areas. He has personally marketed many gemstones in Pakistan and Germany.

Larry Snee Lawrence W. Snee, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist,
National Cooperative Geological Mapping Team,
US Geological Survey
Denver, Colorado

Dr. Snee received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1982 and then was a post-doctoral fellow with the U.S. Geological Survey where he conducted research on igneous petrology, geochemistry, and isotope geology. From 1983 to 1986 Dr. Snee was professor of geology at Oregon State University. While at Oregon State, he began working with other faculty members, graduate students, and Pakistani colleagues on the tectonic evolution of the Himalayas. This work has resulted in numerous field excursions to northern Pakistan. He has published many articles on geology, tectonics, and emerald occurrences in Pakistan and Afghanistan and has co-edited a book with Ali H. Kazmi, a past director general of the Geological Survey of Pakistan, titled Emeralds of Pakistan: Geology, Gemology and Genesis. He also lectured in 1989 at the Chitral, Pakistan symposium "Gems and Minerals of the Hindu Kush" and coauthored "Emeralds of the Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan."

Sher Dil Qader Sher Dil Qader
Emerald Project
Panjsher Valley, Afghanistan
Rochester, New York

Sher Dil Qader, born in Panjsher Valley, was one of the first explorers searching for emerald in the valley. This exploration occurred during his tour as a freedom fighter against the Soviet Union. He has extensive experience leading expeditions of personnel and materials throughout the Panjsher Valley and northern Afghanistan. He previously worked for Freedom Medicine, an American non-profit organization, assisting the Mujahideen with medical aide. Presently, Sher Dil Qader is involved in the initial phases of the first economic study of the emerald deposits of Panjsher Valley.


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