In Afghanistan, American geologists have discovered deposits of iron, copper, lithium, cobalt, and gold worth $1 trillion. Experts believe that these reserves may not only stop the poverty in one of the poorest countries in the world, but turn Afghanistan in a flourishing country and one of the largest centers of natural resources excavation.
The United States has discovered vast mineral deposits including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium, The New York Times reports.
The deposits were preliminary estimated at $1 trillion. For comparison, Afghanistan’s GDP does not exceed $12 billion.
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The deposits were discovered in different regions of the country, including less stable provinces bordering Pakistan. The President Hamid Karzai was recently briefed, American officials said. Geologists from different countries have known about the deposits for several decades, but the estimates have never been made. Experts believe that mining will attract investors, aid job creation and will positively affect the Afghan economy.
Experts think that these reserves may not only stop the poverty in one of the poorest countries in the world, but turn Afghanistan in a flourishing country and one of the largest centers of natural resources excavation.
The most precious mineral resource discovered in Afghanistan is lithium, a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys. It can be used for batteries of future electro mobiles developed by various automakers.
According to RBK, it could take many years to develop a mining industry due to the lack of infrastructure required for mining and corruption in Afghan government.
The largest part of the discovered resources is located on the territories controlled by Taliban or field commanders who do not obey the official government. Instead of bringing peace to the war-infested lands, the news may serve as a stimulus for Taliban to gain the control over the country.
Additionally, the uncontrollable corruption may be enhanced, especially if oligarchs close to the government gain access to the new riches.
It is not ruled out that China gets interested in investments into mining, which may be negatively perceived by the US that has invested dozens of millions of dollars into the region.
American geologists were sent to Afghanistan in 2004. In Kabul’s scientific library they found documents indicating that there may be mineral deposits in the country. The information was collected by Soviet scientists back in the 1980s, but the extraction could not be started because of the ongoing war. Using the maps compiled by the Soviet scientists, in 2006 American geologists commenced the search. They explored over 70% of the country’s territory with new equipment.
Currently a significant part of the population earns their living by growing and selling drugs.