Monday, June 14, 2010

U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan.

Who could have possibly predicted good news from Afghanistan?

The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

Of course it could turn out to be terrible news as it might make the US and the UK even less likely to ever leave that place.

But, when one remembers that we used to think Afghanistan had nothing to offer the world other than poppies, it could turn out to be the very thing that country needs to ensure a living wage for many of it's potential workers.

Of course, it will also cause the Taliban to possibly fight even harder to regain control, but a government with huge mineral resources should be able to afford a large enough army to maintain control.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines.

I really do hope this turns out to be the break the Afghans need.

Click here for full article.

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