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.
F*ck Heroin. This is the Real Deal.
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. One could imagine the tongues dripping with saliva at the press conference.
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, hybrids, iPhones, iPads and everything else sold at Target and Costco.
The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said. My guess is he was handed a pamphlet that read, "How Strip Mining Helps Your Community."
While it could take many years (my guess is less than two) to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war. Just ask the mountain top strip mines of Appalachia or the nice folks of Southern Illinois!
“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.
American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan. The American-led offensive in Marja in southern Afghanistan has achieved only limited gains. Meanwhile, charges of corruption and favoritism continue to plague the Karzai government, and Mr. Karzai seems increasingly embittered toward the White House.
One wonders how long this report has been sitting behind the filing cabinet? And, really, how is the Taliban going to get this stuff out? By shooting it? No, this is a job for America! Caterpillar tractors and Rio Tinto Energy America, to name two off the top of my head.
Team America will have to fight the corrupt Afghani government, China, the Taliban and a host of other issues, such as the complete and total lack of any industry or infrastructure in the country. But, that's what built up America. And it's coming.
All because America wants an iPad and a hybrid car.