Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mineral Rich Afghanistan Contains Promise And Problems

Infrastructure must be created throughout
much of the country before mining efforts
may commence.
AFGHANISTAN (NYT) -- It is estimated that Afghanistan possesses nearly one trillion USD in untapped minerals such as gold, lithium, and copper. Though there is potential for Afghanistan to use these resources to become a self-sustaining country and player in the global market, overwhelming concerns regarding government corruption, lack of existing infrastructure, and violence overshadow this hope. Fears of a countrywide civil conflict exist as various factions recently started fighting over mineral rich territory, scaring off international investors. The government rejected legislation that it considered too favorable to Western interests. However, it since allowed Chinese companies to mine for oil, copper, and rare-earth, all while arguing other contracts awarded through spoils and regional political influence. In addition, there are concerns about proven illegal mining and smuggling of minerals to neighboring countries in order to fuel insurgencies.  Despite the negatives, the people of Afghanistan eagerly await for more mining to begin, as it is estimated that such activity could bring as many as 50,000 jobs helping to lift many of the families out of poverty and provide education to their children. Source: Potential for a Mining Boom Splits Factions in Afghanistan (Reliability: High)

Comment: As long as Afghanistan continues to experience violence and instability, the mining industry will be very slow to come to fruition, if ever, crushing the hopes of the people who want a better life.

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