NATURAL PRODUCTIONS - Minerals. - Af ghanistan is believed to be rich in minerals, but few are wrought. Some small quantity of gold is taken from the streams in Laghman and the adjoining districts. Famous silver mines were formerly wrought near the head of the Panjshir valley, in Hindu Kush. Iron of excellent quality is produced in the (independent) territory of Bajaur, north-west of Peshawar, from magnetic iron sand, and is exported. Kabul is chiefly supplied from the FermiIli (or Farinfili) district, between the Upper Kimura and Gomal, where it is said to be abundant. Iron ore is most abundant near the passes leading to Bamian, and in other parts of Hindu Kush. Copper ore from various parts of Afghanistan has been seen, but it is nowhere worked.
Lead is found, e.g., in Upper Bangash (Kurram district), and in the Shinwari country (also among the branches of Safed Koh), and in the Kakar country. There are reported to be rich lead mines near Herat scarcely worked. Lead, with antimony, is found near the Arghand-ab, 32 miles north-west of Kala't-i-Ghilzai ; in the Wardak hills, 24 miles north of Ghazni; in the Ghorband valley, north of Kabul ; mid in the Afridi country, near our frontier. Most of the lead used, however, comes from the Hazara country, where the ore is described as being gathered on the surface. An ancient mine of great extent and elaborate character exists at Feringal, in the Ghorband Antimony is obtained in considerable quantities at ShahMaksud, about 30 miles north of Kandahar.
Silicate of zinc in nodular fragments comes from the Zhob district of the Kakar country. It is chiefly used by cutlers for polishing.
Sulphur is said to be found at Herat, dug from the soil in small fragments, but the chief supply comes from the Hazara country, and from Pirkisri, on the confines of Seistan, where there would seem to be, a crater, or fmna- role. Sal-ammoniac is brought from the same place. Gypsum is found in large quantities in the plain of Kandahar, being dug out in fragile coralline masses from near the surface.
Coal (perhaps lignite) is said to be found in Zurmat (between the Upper Kurram and the Gomal) and near Ghazni.
Nitre abounds in the soil over all the south west of Afghanistan, and often affects the water of the birez, or subterranean canals.