Future Terrains, working through BGS International – now IGS Ltd, in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Iran, organised a 12-day, 2,000 mile field excursion through the deserts and mountains of Iran for the Afghanistan Geological Survey’s environmental geology team and participants from the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) to study Iranian mines. The participants were part of a 30-month mining-environmental capacity-building programme – part of the DFID-supported Extractive Sector Support Programme (ESSP) to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.
The training visit was organised because, due to the poor security situation in Afghanistan, a similar excursion there would not be possible. It took a year to organise the passports, visas, funding and itinerary. Iran was chosen as the location as it was shares a similar geography, climate, environment and culture and both countries speak a similar language, hence there was no need for interpreters. The excursion enabled participants to visit a diverse range of modern Iranian mines and interact with their staff and develop a real understanding for the scale of modern mines and how they function and interact with their environment and local communities.