U.S. Department of Defense strategists backed the Afghanistan government in selling its biggest mineral interests to Chinese, Indian, Canadian and U.S. companies, from whom it hopes to receive licensing fees and royalties. The U.S. first began to consider minerals as a possible economic boost for Afghanistan in 2010. But U.S researchers outlined hurdles that would be difficult to overcome. It would require up to 3,000 miles of track through 16,000-foot mountain ranges.
Western officials however said Afghanistan would be able to pursue other major projects that use trucks rather than rail. Source: Doubt Cast on Afghan Mining (Reliability: High)
Comment: According to the USGS, in addition to billions of dollars worth of iron and copper, there is an estimated $25 billion of gold, $81 billion of niobium, and sizable quantities of cobalt, molybdenum, asbestos, silver and other industrial minerals in Afghanistan mines. U.S business interested in Afghanistan mines would benefit from pursuing the feasibility of strategic mineral mining to lessen our dependency on China.