In April 2017, a new Construction Materials Testing Laboratory was officially opened during an inauguration ceremony at the Afghan Geological Survey (AGS) attended by the UK’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, H.E. Dominic Jermey, and Deputy Minister Sadaat from the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP).
The opening the laboratory, together with training AGS staff, is the culmination of one of three projects undertaken by BGSI (IGS) as part of the DFID-funded Extractive Sector Support Programme (ESSP).
The laboratory has been supplied with the very latest equipment capable of undertaking more than 30 different tests on different types of construction material, making this facility the most modern and most capable raw material testing laboratory in Afghanistan.
The equipment in this laboratory will enable the AGS and the MoMP to undertake qualitative testing on a range of different construction materials, e.g. limestone, granite, and marble, to understand their properties, including strength, porosity, and resistance to abrasion.
The laboratory will also help the Afghan small-scale mining industry, since it will be able to assist quarry operators to assess the quality of their resources. For example, marble quarry operators will be able to bring in samples of their products for testing and use the test results to attract higher fees for their products, whilst ensuring they are used for the most appropriate specifications. If Afghan marble producers are better able to understand the potential value of their product, they are less likely to want to sell their quarry material at a lower price and can demand higher prices for their product.
Additionally, this laboratory will enable the Afghan government, through the MoMP, to make informed decisions regarding the choice of materials used in infrastructure and construction projects. This will help to ensure the longevity of buildings and roads, and will ultimately save the Afghan government time and resources.
After the inauguration, the Ambassador and Deputy Minister were interviewed by journalists from national and international organisations, including the BBC.