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

8th Symposium on the Gems and Minerals of Afghanistan - Results

Symposium Director, Gary W. Bowersoxopens The 8th Symposium on the Gems and Minerals of Afghanistan with a dedication to Commander Ahmed Shah Massoud, a review of the symposium history and goals, his 2700 mile 2002 expedition, and the advancement of scientific data and mining locations pertaining to Afghanistan. Gary details how under peaceful conditions the Afghan economy could be jump-started with gem exports. He believes that with three years to five years of peace the gem production could reach three hundred (300) to five hundred (500) million US dollars per year. This, however, will require technical assistance and training.

Alice Keller talks with Gary Bowersox and Herb Obodda, mineral specialist, before her "Welcome Speech" outlining past and present Gemological Institute of America (GIA) support for the Afghan gem industry through publishing reports backed up by laboratory analysis. See G&G articles on Afghanistan Gems, Panjsher Emeralds and Jegdalek Rubies.

Engineer Mohammad Es'Haq lectured in detail on the political and military situation in Afghanistan. He explained that the situation is not good but improving. He is optimistic about elections and the future of Afghanistan. The Afghans want peace. He is very concerned about current and future foreign influence undermining peace efforts in Afghanistan.


Mir Waees Khan Jegdalek lectured on the status of the ruby mines and mining conditions North East of Kabul. Most of the miner's are living in Pakistan refugee camps until the current military situation improves. Villages in the mining area will need to be completely rebuilt. This will require equipment and training.

Derrold Holcomb reviewed the GeoVision 1999 Expedition to the Panjsher Valley emerald mines, where SPOT satellite image-maps and GPS were used for ground-truth and mapping. Derrold and the staff at ERDAS are now developing new software to exploit recent technological advancements in the use of satellite data for exploration. For the 1999 expedition, only the single-band SPOT panchromatic satellite photos were available for exploring in Afghanistan. Now, with the tens to hundreds of bands available in hyperspectral data and advance software for analyzing visible, infrared and thermal bands, technicians can decide what material they want to find and ask the computer to find it. For a review of Derrold's slide presentation click here:



Gary Clifton (clifton@gbis.com)reviewed past data using figures 1-7 (below) and detailed his suggestions for future exploration and mining. He proposed exploration using a stream sampling method that he has developed and training of Afghans in homemade safe explosives using fertilizers. He detailed a plan of how the new Afghan government with our teams assistance could finance the gem mining operations to provide the country with taxation and foreign currency. For coordinates, see Gemstones of Afghanistan.
  • Lecture Notes
  • Fig 1 Distribution of igneous rocks in southern Asia
  • Fig 2 Igneous rocks and major metallic mineral deposits of Afghanistan
  • Fig 3 Igneous rocks and metallic mineral deposits, Qandahar-Ghazni area
  • Fig 4 Igneous rocks and metallic mineral deposits, Kabul area
  • Fig 5 Igneous rocks and metallic mineral deposits, northeast Afghanistan
  • Fig 6 Gemstone deposits of northeast Afghanistan
  • Fig 7 Gemstone deposits of the Nuristan region


Larry Snee reported on how the United States Geological Survey Team (USGS) was involved in earth and natural science studies and training. The USGS is interested in the study on Afghanistan mineral resources and the training of Afghans to reestablish the geological survey of Afghanistan. However, funding has yet to be approved. Larry's detailed with photos, "Mineral Assessment", "Geology", "Methods", and "Expected Results". Our GeoVision, Inc. team could assist USGS with ground proof of their data and the submission of samples.
Herb Obodda, Guy Clutterbuck, Gary Bowersox and Mir Waees Khan discuss future travels in Pakistan Afghanistan and the high value of the deposits.

Guy Clutterbuck briefed us on his current travels in Afghanistan and the mission of the British Military assigned as in-country security forces.

Engineer Es'Haq explains the Afghan political situation to Mining Engineer Paul Jones and Brazilian Gem Wholesaler and cutter Joao Monteiro.

Larry Snee and publisher Chuck Hutchinson discuss changes in Afghanistan since the publication of Gemstones of Afghanistan.

John Jenning, Journalist Specializing on Afghanistan, listens intently to the lecturer and discussion and contributes news of his recent trip to Kabul.

Joao Monteiro and Brendan Laurs, Senior Editor of Gems and Gemology, discuss the symposium topics. During the symposium Joao discussed an idea of having Afghans trained in the Brazilian gem mines.

Click here for Coordinates of Gem and Mineral Deposits (downloadable file)


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