What’s at stake in Afghanistan? This is the country of opium and rare minerals

Afghanistan rare minerals mining

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. At the same time, the region sits on $1 trillion of rare minerals that the world needs and can re-launch its macroeconomic prospects. Now, what will happen to those natural resources?

The multibillion-dollar reserves of resources were discovered in the country by the US military and geologists back in 2010.

Among these minerals, gold, copper and iron stood out, all of them deposits distributed throughout the geography of the country. There has also been talking of a lithium deposit, specifically one of the largest unexploited deposits in the world, a key element in dealing with the climate crisis.

“Afghanistan is undoubtedly one of the richest regions in traditional precious metals, but also in metals (necessary) for the emerging economy of the 21st century,” says Rod Schoonover, scientist and security expert in statements collected by CNN.

Afghanistan Mining

Until now, the lack of infrastructure, droughts and the instability of the country itself has prevented the extraction of these minerals from taking place. Now under the control of the Taliban, the situation seems unlikely to change. Countries like China, India and Pakistan are still interested in it despite everything, although Schoonover admits that “it is a great unknown.”

It should be remembered that the International Energy Agency ( IEA ) recognized in May that lithium, copper, nickel, cobalt and other rare minerals will play an essential role in the fight against climate change. In this sense, and always according to the calculations of the US government, the lithium reserves of Afghanistan can rival those of Bolivia, which is, in turn, one of the largest in the world.

“If Afghanistan has a few calm years, allowing the development of its mineral resources, it could become one of the richest countries in the area in a decade,” said Said Mirzad, of the United States Geological Survey, in words to the Science magazine published in 2010.