Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Afghan mining roadshow opens; temptation, trepidation for India, China



Afghan authorities have organised a roadshow in London that opens on Friday aimed at drumming up interest in the country’s mineral wealth variously estimated at anything from $1 trillion to $3 trillion.

India and China, the regional heavyweights, are the top candidates to fight for a piece of the action in their immediate neighbourhood. If there are such large reserves of copper, iron ore and key industrial metals such as lithium lying untapped in their neighbourhood you would expect them to invest heavily in Afghanistan to feed their supercharged economies.

But they are not rushing in yet with pick axes and shovels, and for the same reasons that deter Western investors. The security and logistical challenges of extracting the minerals and bringing them to the global market remain daunting.

Here’s an analysis on a gold rush that may be a long time coming.

It’s all mine, says Afghan media

- Quick, find some lithium before the batteries run out...

(Quick, find some lithium before the batteries run out... pic by author)

A colleague blogged earlier this week about the report that says Afghanistan is sitting on a veritable fortune in mineral resources – between $1-3 trillion, depending on how optimistic you are.

Although another colleague analysed more critically what enormous difficulties need to be overcome to see even a fraction of that sum, it hasn’t stopped the Afghan media from getting excited.