Afghanistan mining will not solve resource scarcity

7 Jun 2011

Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of iron, copper, rare earth metals, and gold are buried beneath Afghanistan’s deserts and mountains. This wealth has been there mainly undisturbed for thousands of years. Invaders have dreamed of exploiting it since the time of Alexander the Great, but no one has yet succeeded on a large scale.

The reason? There are (too) many ‘if’s’, this article explains.

Most importantly, Afghanistan is an inter-tribal warfare plagued nation. Also, corrupt government officials award concessions for the country’s major mineral deposits to bidders who pay the biggest bribes, not who are best suited to actually do the work.

Other obstacles are for example the growing hostility toward the West and the threat of nationalization of mines. And how to develop and run a mine in a responsible way in (what Forbes calls) the most dangerous country in the world?

It is very unlikely that Afghanistan will solve the upcoming resource scarcity problem as the existence of large mineral deposits doesn’t necessarily mean that the we’re actually going to be able to use these resources.

Based on: @metalminer