Pentagon 'Discovers' Huge Lithium Deposit in Afganistan


Bob Lutz, GM's previous product development chief who intro'd the Volt. Image credit:hybridcars.com

From the "re-positioning of old news' file: as quoted in the New York Times story about a trillion dollar minerals discovery in Afganistan, U.S. Discovers Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan ""There is stunning potential here," Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. "There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.""

Does the timing of this news have some significance born out of desperation? More on that likelihood down the page.The Russians apparently made the first discoveries of these diverse and large-scale Afgan mineral deposits; and it was a 2009 USGS review of the Russian findings which led to this "re-finding.'

This was known in 2004, at the end of George W Bush's first administration.

In 2004, American geologists, sent to Afghanistan as part of a broader reconstruction effort, stumbled across an intriguing series of old charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul that hinted at major mineral deposits in the country. They soon learned that the data had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, but cast aside when the Soviets withdrew in 1989.
Telling that the US military commander is quoted.

According to a year-old story by Reuters, and published on Mining Exploration News, all of this was well known back in April of 2009. So, it's mostly rinse and repeat spin.

China, of course has been going after some of the Afgan minerals for over two years.

A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) had shown the war-torn nation may hold far higher amounts of minerals than previously thought, with iron deposits alone estimated at between five to six billion tonnes, minister Mohammad Ibrahim Adel said.

He urged foreign firms to invest in the sector, and said he did not think the security situation would deter them.

China's top integrated copper producer, Jiangxi Copper Co (0358.HK), and China Metallurgical Group Corp, are going ahead with exploration of the vast Aynak Copper Mine, south of Kabul, after they won the contract to develop it last year [2008].

The first-linked NY Times report indicated that some of the deposits are near the Pakistan-Afganistan border; and, so I'm not sure how well any this belated PR will work out for US businesses wishing to exploit the minerals. They might do well to let the Chinese have first crack at it like everything else.

See also: Will Afghanistan Become the "Saudi Arabia of Lithium"?

Tags: Pakistan

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