Vast Mineral Reserves Discovered in Afghanistan

Afghanistan, known today as a Taliban lair and heroin haven, has the potential to become the next mining center, according to U.S. officials. A report by the New York Times cited sources from the Pentagon as saying that Afghanistan has around $1-trillion worth of untapped mineral deposits, enough to bring significant economic improvement to the impoverished South Asian country.

A Pentagon memo claimed that key minerals like lithium, as well as gold, copper, cobalt, and iron can be found in Afghanistan. The memo describes Afghanistan as having the potential to become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.” The Pentagon report is the result of an almost four-year aerial surveys that began in 2006. U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus said that “there are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.

Among the minerals, iron and copper have the most significant deposits. However, what could make Afghanistan a sought-after mining site is its deposits of rare minerals like niobium, which is used in superconducting steel.