The Natural Resources of Afghanistan are products of nature exploited for the economic benefit of the Afghan people. Despite a lengthy history of small-scale mining of gems, gold, copper, and coal, systematic exploration of Afghanistan’s mineral resources did not begin until the 1960s. In the 1970s significant reserves of natural gas were discovered in the northern part of the country. Fossil fuel resources also include petroleum and coal. The country has significant deposits of copper and iron ores, barite, chromite, lead, zinc, sulfur, salt, and talc. For many centuries Afghanistan has been an important source of precious and semiprecious stones such as lapis lazuli, ruby, aquamarine, and emerald. The Natural Resources of Afghanistan is one that shows the rich economic diversity of the country.