Afghanistan’s mineral riches and the war

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TheRealNews: Did a 2007 report of massive mineral deposits in Afghanistan affect President Obama’s 2009 decision to widen the scope of the Afghan war?

Afghanistan claims mineral wealth is worth $3 trillion

By Ben Farmer, The Telegraph, June 17, 2010

The Afghan government claims its untapped mineral wealth could be worth £2 trillion and is launching a drive to drum up interest from international mining firms.

The Afghan minister of mines said the potential was three times an American government estimate reported earlier this week.

United States officials hope the Afghan economy could gain much needed income and become a world centre for mining.

Wahidullah Shahrani spoke after he invited 200 companies to an investment road show in London next week as the government sought to attract global interest.

India and China are expected to be particularly interested in exploiting the country’s deposits of copper, iron, lithium, gold, niobium, mercury, cobalt and other minerals.

Mr Shahrani said a number of Indian firms had already expressed interest and said the American estimate of $1 trillion (£680 billion) of minerals on offer was conservative.

He said: “Our estimation is more than that … the idea is it could be up to three trillion dollars.”

Surveys have also found five new oil and gas blocks in Afghanistan, with the biggest in the Afghan-Tajik basin in the unstable province of Kunduz, he said.

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