US: Afghanistan has nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits

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Afghanistan has nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits, according to a US study.

A report in the New York Times said previously unknown reserves of lithium, iron, gold, niobium, cobalt and other minerals could transform the impoverished country into one of the world’s most lucrative mining centers.

“There is stunning potential here,” General David Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, told the paper in an article published on Monday.

“There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The New York Times was reporting the final results of a study by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and a Pentagon task force, initiated in 2006.

It quoted a Pentagon memo as saying Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and mobile phones.

Afghanistan’s potential lithium deposits are as large of those of Bolivia, which currently has the world’s largest known reserves of the metal.

The iron and copper deposits are also large enough to make Afghanistan one of the world’s leading producers, US officials said.

‘Very big news’

Waheed Omar, Karzai’s spokesman, said at a news conference on Monday that the

USGS was “contracted by the Afghan government to do a survey, so this is basically an Afghan government initiative.”

“I think it’s very, very big news for the people of Afghanistan and that we hope will bring the Afghan people together for a cause that will benefit everyone,” he said.

“This is an economic interest that will benefit all Afghans and will benefit Afghanistan in the long run.”

During a visit last month to Washington, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his nation’s untapped mineral deposits could be even higher than the new US figures – perhaps as much as $3 trillion.

Little of Afghanistan’s mineral riches has been exploited because the country has been mired in conflict for three decades.

Poor infrastructure is also an obstacle to a possible mining industry, with only one national highway connecting north to south and its ramshackle roads often targeted by Taliban bombs.

“I highly doubt it will be able to either properly manage these resources or use the riches to build a more peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan for all Afghans,” Janan Mosazai, a political analyst, told AFP.

“We have living examples of other countries where natural riches have actually turned into a curse for peace and prosperity for people,” he said, citing Nigeria’s endemic poverty and conflict despite vast oil exports.

China and India have bid for contracts to develop Afghan mines, with the Chinese winning a huge copper contract. An iron-ore contract is due to be awarded later this year.

In 2008 China agreed to invest $3bn in developing the vast Aynak copper reserves, the largest single foreign direct investment in Afghanistan’s history. Aljazeera

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Comments

13 responses to “US: Afghanistan has nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits”

  1. omg I knew afghanistan had riches but some poeple dont know that and think afghanistan is just a dump pit

  2. omg I knew afghanistan had riches but some poeple dont know that and think afghanistan is just a dump pit

  3. 5thDrawer Avatar

    The US has a problem in that it’s supposed to be against all drugs … conveniently forgetting that some are used for good purposes too. But would ‘Business’ allow the farmers to see the profit? On the Afgan side, of course, one chooses who they wish to do business with …

  4. 5thDrawer Avatar

    “There are a lot of ifs, of course …”    No use advertising the facts when you couldn’t find anyone sane enough to go there and set up a business that was attached to anything ‘western’ .. or more ‘modern’ than a donkey-cart and a gun. Even if the Afgans made most of the profits and had jobs from it, some religious goof-ball would  revise ‘the book’  again and tell them Allah said it was the work of the devil.

  5.  Avatar

    “There are a lot of ifs, of course …”    No use advertising the facts when you couldn’t find anyone sane enough to go there and set up a business that was attached to anything ‘western’ .. or more ‘modern’ than a donkey-cart and a gun. Even if the Afgans made most of the profits and had jobs from it, some religious goof-ball would  revise ‘the book’  again and tell them Allah said it was the work of the devil.

  6.  Avatar

    “There are a lot of ifs, of course …”    No use advertising the facts when you couldn’t find anyone sane enough to go there and set up a business that was attached to anything ‘western’ .. or more ‘modern’ than a donkey-cart and a gun. Even if the Afgans made most of the profits and had jobs from it, some religious goof-ball would  revise ‘the book’  again and tell them Allah said it was the work of the devil.

  7. 7akibalash Avatar
    7akibalash

    you havent explained how “using contractors is profitable for the US government or any government for that matter”, you have shown how they spend money though…. are you a bit confused by gkaram’s question?

  8. 7akibalash Avatar
    7akibalash

    lol, you are dealing with brainwashed donkeys here.

  9. 5thDrawer Avatar

    It’s the Taliban that makes the profits from the opium … although ultimately it ends up on world markets and the world has a lot of ‘users’ for sure … not forgetting the ones running Wall Street, and Hollywood.
    If they legalized and taxed it, there might be a reason for collecting it … but America is not.
    What your army buddies do on their own is another thing.

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