21 December 2012
Last updated at 19:54 ET
The Ghori cement factory in northern Afghanistan is one of several key developments that could make a real difference to the country's economic stability after Nato forces leave in 2014.
The Ghori factory was privatised in 2006 in a controversial deal which has subsequently been criticised by the ministry of mines for its lack of detail and technical flaws. Workers complain that they remain poorly paid.
More than half the cement used in northern Afghanistan comes from the Ghoni plant and the future economic functioning of the region depends on it remaining in operation.
Local traders say that Afghan cement is cheaper and better value than cement that is laboriously trucked into the country from neighbouring Pakistan.
Another key Afghan mineral site is at Aynak, 25 miles (40km) from Kabul. Copper mining in this area dates back to the Buddhist era 2,000 years ago.
But, like other Afghan mineral sites, work at Aynak is not without its complications. It is currently on hold while archaeologists complete a full excavation of the site.
Meanwhile in the Amu River basin - also in the north of the country - Chinese investors have acquired exploitation rights for potentially lucrative oil reserves.
During the first three years, crude oil from the basin will be exported so that it can be refined, but the the Chinese National Petroleum Company is committed to building a refinery nearby.
While some Afghans are already employed at the site, officials hope that many more local people will also get jobs as energy production starts to increase.
Experts say that mineral deposits and energy sources, including gas, can be found all over northern Afghanistan. Some of these have been exploited since Soviet times however only a small number of people in the area have benefited.
Kwaja Tajuddin is one of about 200 householders near the northern Afghan town of Sheberghan lucky enough to have his own gas supply. He pays $4 (£2.50) a month and says it has made a big difference to him and his family.
The question now is whether the Afghan population in general can benefit from the county's rich seam of resources. Experts have warned that there is a long road ahead, with key improvements in infrastructure and the overall security situation urgently needed before progress can be made.