James Devine thinks natural resource data may spur Afghanistan’s recovery

Geologist James Devine talks with EarthSky about how better-trained scientists could help Afghanistan’s government manage the country’s rich petroleum and copper reserves, and ultimately revitalize the nation’s troubled economy.

James Devine: The fundamental way a country gets back on its feet after many decades of oppression and warfare is to find ways to develop their natural resources.

That’s James Devine of the U.S. Geological Survey, talking about Afghanistan. He told EarthSky he believes that hands-on science education is benefiting Afghan scientists. Devine suggested that better-trained scientists could help Afghanistan’s government manage the country’s rich petroleum and copper reserves, and ultimately revitalize the nation’s troubled economy.

James Devine: The Afghans can understand what natural resources they have and how to go about exploiting them to bring wealth and jobs to their country.

Since 2003, the U.S. Geological Survey has been working with the Afghan government to assess oil, gas, minerals, and water resources.

James Devine: Prior to our studies there, most people would have said there’s not enough petroleum in Afghanistan to be of any interest. Just from our estimates, we’ve shown that there is a fair amount, particularly for domestic use.

During the project’s next phase, Devine hopes to lure foreign investors to Afghanistan, to help fund the construction of natural resources infrastructure.

James Devine: If they can get the government stable and security in place, they have a bright future. We just believe we are providing them the data to understand how bright that future is.

Our thanks to:
James Devine
United States Geological Survey
Reston, VA

EarthSky