OREANDA-NEWS. Blenheim is pleased to advise that its investee company IGS (International Geoscience Services) Limited ("IGS") has announced that the latest annual review of its ongoing projects in Afghanistan has been graded by the Department for International Development ("DfID") as A+, the highest ranking. This is the second year in a row that this grade has been achieved and is a significant endorsement of IGS from the UK Government, which positions it well for further Government contracts.

IGS has been involved with DfID in various geological data and consultancy projects in Afghanistan since it was spun out from the British Geological Survey ("BGS") in 2010, building on previous work that was completed when IGS was part of BGS between 2002 and 2008. IGS deploys a small team to Kabul from its UK office on work rotations, and uses a number of local partners and security experts to carry out its contracts.

Despite operational and security challenges, IGS's projects continue to make good progress at both the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and the Afghan Geological Survey ("AGS"). Laboratory equipment for the AGS projects will begin to arrive this month, which will be followed by a period of training for AGS staff on how to use this equipment.  IGS plans to refurbish several other pieces of laboratory analytical equipment as well, which should be more cost effective than replacing them with new items.

The work is part of a DFID-funded programme titled "Extractive Sector Support Programme", which is described in more detail on the DfID website. It is pivotal to the UK Government's continuing support for the economic stabilisation of Afghanistan, in which it is recognised that political stability is likely to be based on developing Afghanistan's extensive mineral resources. DfID engages IGS to provide geological consultancy services in Afghanistan as part of its ?11.8 billion spend on the UK's overseas aid programme, which aims to end extreme poverty and to build a safer, healthier, more prosperous world in the UK's national interest.