In a remarkable new discovery, a small team of U.S. Pentagon officials and American geologists have found massive reserves of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other essential metals like lithium in Afghanistan. All together, these mineral deposits could be worth nearly $1 trillion dollars, and could transform Afghanistan into a preeminent mining center, attracting investors from all over the world.
The iron and copper discoveries that have been made so far are substantial enough to turn Afghanistan into one of the world’s major producers of both valuable substances.
In addition, geologists believe dry salt lakes in western Afghanistan may contain lithium deposits large enough to rival those of Bolivia, which possesses the world’s largest known reserves. An internal Pentagon memo says with these discoveries, Afghanistan could turn into the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.” Lithium is an essential element used widely in high-tech production; a necessity for computer chips to batteries to wind turbine components.
Although he concedes that developing these reserves will take time and money, General David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, says there is “stunning potential here” and that this discovery has the potential to transform the Afghan economy, which thus far has centered around opium production and the drug trade.