After US troops left Afghanistan, many questions were being raised by people around the globe. Afghanistan has always been in a state of continuous suffering and by the take over of the Taliban, it seems like there is no relief coming. When the US was in Afghanistan, somewhat leading the country to somewhere by giving people, especially women many chances to grow and live a life, they also found that Afghanistan is not only rich with traditions and stories but also with minerals. Even after finding this out, the US did not take many measures to use these resources. Afghanistan has always been one of the poorest nations in the world when the US was taking care of the country. Much international aid used to come but in the current situation, there is no US assistance nor any international aid to help the people of Afghanistan.
Now that Afghanistan is under the Taliban’s rule it might be possible that all the minerals reserves that Afghanistan has will remain still and their economy, which was getting better in the last few years will decline suddenly as well.
Minerals In Afghanistan
Afghanistan has a wealth of non-fuel minerals whose estimated value according to the US is more than $1 trillion in American Dollars. For millennia the country was renowned for the gemstones like rubies, emeralds, tourmalines, and lapis lazuli. All these minerals continued to be locally taken out in both legal and illegal manners by small artisanal miners. The world, certainly the nations having power are not concerned about the gemstones but things far more resourceful. Afghanistan’s endowments of copper, iron, lithiumneighbour and rare earth elements, cobalt, bauxite, mercury, uranium, and chromium are what nations are interested in.
The resources Afghanistan has are huge, the total copper resources sum up to about 57.7 million metric tons and are worth $516 million. These resources are still undiscovered, which means they are identified but not fully explored as surely not assessed. If the study or research will finalize the claims then Afghanistan will be among the top five nations for copper reserves in the globe. The country also has iron ore resources in the Haji Gak deposit of Bamiyan Province, the reserve here is estimated to be about 2,100 million metric tons of high-quality iron ore that consists of 61%-69% of iron by weight. The cost of these iron ore resources represents a value of around $336.8 billion and thus placing Afghanistan among the top 10 nations globally in iron that can be extracted.
The most popular among them all is Lithium resources in Nuristan Province, this resource is in market demand as many nations are trying to be eco friendly and are planning to make vehicles that will not consume fuel and for that, they will need Lithium for batteries. Rare earth elements are found in southern Helmand Province, these deposits consist of cerium, more valuable smaller amounts of lanthanum, praseodymium, and neodymium, these are of 1.4 million metric tons.
Extraction Of Lithium – A Global Interest
All the resources, especially Lithium, are not being extracted. This can be considered how the economic state of Afghanistan will not change any sooner. A US-based study of the year 2010 states that Afghanistan can have one of the world’s largest Lithium deposits. Geologists from America and Pentagon officials had estimated that there are untapped mineral reserves worth $1 trillion. And according to the latest studies, the value has hiked and there can be minerals worth $3 trillion. The mineral Lithium is termed as the most crucial resource for the new agenda of going green that is likely to be followed by the majority of countries. This agenda will be done by abandoning the use of fuel in vehicles and switching to electric vehicles. One of the most powerful countries, China, stated last year how electric vehicles will make up to 40% of all auto sales by the year 2030. Many European countries and also the United States are interested to make the same transition of switching to vehicles run by electricity.
Lithium is mostly used in rechargeable batteries like in laptops, mobile phones. The demand for lithium batteries over the past years has increased as this is used in portable electronic devices, electricity-operated tools, electric vehicles, and also in grip storage utilization.
Though Afghanistan has so much to offer, the resources are mainly untapped because of the often political changes and difficult terrain. The other reasons for this include lack of good quality roadways, railways, and electricity. Though these situations are managed by the mining companies, the harsh terrain of the country makes it more than hard. Another reason for untapped resources is that mining can result in major impacts on land and air quality as well as watersheds.
Why Is The World Interested?
The minerals of Afghanistan are in the interest of many nations. China being a neighbor is very much interested in taking over the minerals, of course, to profit itself more than the people of Afghanistan. Since Afghanistan is now under the rule of the Taliban and they do not have enough funding or experts thus other countries might get a chance of profiting from this setback. For this sole purpose, many nations are now shaking hands with the Taliban to get something for Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has suffered a lot and people living there have seen years of wars and trouble. The resources the country is having should be used for the good of people living there instead of profiting from the already poor situation they are living in but the world does not work like that. Thus, many nations are already stepping slowly for a friendly tie with the Taliban so that they can profit from the substances that are in the land of Afghanistan. But there is also a chance that if the resources will get used properly, the country can prosper and the people can live a much better life in a thriving economy.