Laboratory Directorate

Laboratory Directorate History

From ages, Afghanistan is known for its precious and semi-precious stones like lapis lazuli and ruby. The new evidence from Aynak copper mine shows that mining in Afghanistan has 6000 years of history.

In 1950 to 1967, at the beginning of Afghanistan's geological and mineral resource study around 17 group of Afghan and foreign geologist from Russia, Germen, France, Italy and India was working together. As a result, stratigraphic, magmatic, tectonic, hydrogeological and metallurgical map of Afghanistan was prepared. Those maps were the basis of Afghanistan geological mapping which still can be used in geological studies. The result of these fundamental activities changed the name of Afghanistan Geological Survey to Afghanistan Geological Survey General Directorate.

With the new name, at the first time a new laboratory was established at the Afghanistan Geological Survey General Directorate that was capable of chemical and mineralogical analysis of the rocks. Overtime, the activities of Afghanistan Geological Survey General Directorate increased and the laboratories were not able to carry out their responsibilities. Therefore, the authorities on Afghanistan Geological Survey and Ministry of Mine and Industry planned to build a new building for the laboratory complex of Afghanistan Geological Survey.

The design of the building at the current position was finalized at the 1978 during president Dawood Khan's government. At the same year, Engineer Mohamad Ismail Danish Minister of Mines and Industry placed the foundation stone of laboratory complex (with around 16000 m2 area). The main building of laboratory complex was built in five floors with 200 rooms equipped with the standard ventilation, water supply, electricity, canalization and central heating system which was needed for a standard laboratory. On that time all the equipment in the laboratory was manufactured in Russia and the completion of the laboratory building took about 7 year.

1984 to 1992 was busy years for the laboratory complex that the directorate was tirelessly working with the consultation of foreign expert. In this time period, around 80000 samples were analyzed. As a result, 1:500,000 geological map was completed and more than 1400 mineral occurrences and mineral showing sites were identified.

During two decades of civil war, the laboratory complex and all of the available equipment were destroyed. In 1995 a protocol was signed between Ministry of Mine and Industry and Ministry of Public work for the reconstruction of laboratory building but with the change of the regime this work stopped. In 2000 the reconstruction work restarted but the budget shortage stopped the work again.

Finally, in 2002 the building was reconstructed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The two decades of war ruined the laboratory directorate totally. Currently the laboratory is faced with lack of equipment, standard operating procedure, technical expertise and workspace.



To become the excellent and accredited laboratory in providing the highest level of quality and quantity from analytic analysis.


Laboratory Directorate is providing wide range of different analysis through highly skilled staff and modern technology according to quality standards and continuous improvement.

Responsibilities of AGS laboratory

According to the approved standards and considering the health and safety rules of laboratory staff, as well as environmental and social regulations for a standard laboratory, the Laboratory Directorate is responsible of controlling and monitoring the analysis, detection and determination of physical and chemical properties of minerals and rocks.

Samples that are delivered by AGS field teams and other organizations to laboratory are being prepared according to accepted technical norms. In addition, laboratory is also involved in monitoring and controlling the analysis, type of elements, and percentage of a commodity in ore body and mineral occurrences.

Petrographic observation of samples and their origin, minerals type determination according to their
mineralogical and physical properties, fossils identification and relative age dating based on fossils, 
measuring carbon and sulfur percentage and other harmful substances in coal, developing and equipping
laboratory, training and capacity building of the employees, and standardization of laboratory for reliable 
result are goals of this directorate.

Main Activities of the Directorate

  1. Prepare Laboratories Directorate work plan according to the Afghanistan Geological Survey plans.
  2. Provide reliable, technical, and on time information to AGS related to analysis.
  3. Supervise and ensure that the samples are prepared correctly.
  4. Direct in charge of control and assurance of the analysis of tested samples.
  5. Oversee the maintenance of lab equipment, lab improvement and health and safety of the employees.
  6. Oversee and protect lab’s computerized system for the traceability of lab affairs
  7. Provide guidance to the lab staff in all abovementioned tasks in order to have academic and better performance, analysis and reliable data results. 
  8. Supervision of employees in order to achieve the organization goals.
  9. Make decision to achieve the goals and provide technical advice to solve the problem of Afghanistan Geological Survey.

Organizational structure

In order to achieve their goals and provide better services, the laboratories directorate has below sections:
  1. Thin-section Preparation Laboratory Management 
  2. Samples Preparation Laboratory Management
  3. Geochemical Laboratory Department  
  4. Petrographic Laboratory Department   
  5. Mineralogy Laboratory Management
  6. Gemology Laboratory Management
  7. Industrial Minerals Laboratory Department
  8. Coal Chemistry Laboratory Management  
  9. Paleontology Laboratory Management

Description of each section’s activities

Samples Preparation Laboratory Management

In this section first the samples are registered then according to the request of applicant the form will be
 filled and submitted to the related laboratories.








Thin-section Preparation Laboratory Management

Is responsible for making geological thin section from the field collected samples.






Geochemical Laboratory Department 

Is responsible for standard Geochemical sample preparation and determination of chemical properties of minerals and rocks.










Mineralogy Laboratory Management  

Is responsible for determination of crystalline structure, physical properties and mineralogical composition of rocks and minerals.






Gemological Laboratory Management

Is responsible for determination of gemstones under gemological machines and microscope.






Petrographic Laboratory Department

Is responsible for determination and identification of rocks and minerals under the polarized light microscope.






Industrial Minerals Laboratory Department  

Is responsible for determination of physical properties of rock such as, grain size fracting, water absorption percentage, specific gravity and volumetric weight of the rocks and minerals.








Coal Chemistry Laboratory Management

Is responsible for the carbon/sulfur content analysis, moisture determination, gas

estimation content estimation.








Paleontology Laboratory Management

Is responsible for determination of fossils from fossilized rocks in order to identify the phylum, class and determine the relative ages of the rocks.