Worlds largest Lithium reserves
$1 trillion worth of rare minerals reserves in Afghanistan! The recent chaotic fall of Kabul is bringing up all the tapped things which were ignored for years in Afghanistan. With news of the country’s tumultuous fall, promises of untapped mineral treasures in Afghanistan revived, promising to boost the country to economic independence while also supporting the global green economy.
Current headline since past few days going viral through the international media:
Latest developments in the Lithium price
The price of lithium in China increased by 88 percent in the first three months of 2021
The Taliban own $1 trillion worth of minerals that the world badly requires.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) found in 2007 that the country had prospective iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and lithium deposits. That’s on top of the country’s geology providing troves of precious stones such as emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and lapis lazuli (trade in which is said to have helped pay the Taliban).
Though, Afghanistan is one of the poorest nations. However, USA military authorities and geologists stated in 2010 that the country, which is located at the crossroads of Central and South Asia, had mineral resources worth almost $1 trillion.
Whoever has the control over Afghanistan, will automatically have the advantage of taking the ownership of mineral riches that may theoretically enable it to participate in a major trade in metals for the renewable energy revolution.
Mineral resources, such as iron, copper, and gold, are dispersed throughout provinces. There are also rare earth minerals and, perhaps most crucially, one of the world’s largest lithium resources — an essential but limited component in rechargeable batteries and other technologies critical to addressing the climate issue.
According to Rod Schoonover, a scientist and security expert who created the Ecological Futures Group, “Afghanistan is unquestionably one of the richest locations in conventional precious metals, as well as the metals [necessary] for the rising economy of the twenty-first century,”.
In the past, security concerns, a lack of infrastructure, and severe droughts have hampered the mining of the majority of precious minerals. Under Taliban authority, this is unlikely to alter very soon. Despite the disarray, there is interest from countries such as China, Pakistan, and India, which may try to engage.
Schoonover stated, “It’s a major question mark.”
Are these claims accurate enough? Will Afghanistan’s mineral richness be used to its advantage in the future?
“When the Russians were in Afghanistan in the 1980s, they made various estimates of mineral wealth,” says Dr. Nishank Motwani, Director of Research and Policy at ATR Consulting in Kabul (Motwani is currently working in Canberra). “And the Americans have recently claimed that Afghanistan contains undeveloped mineral riches of around 1 trillion dollars, including rare earth materials.”
However, the most frequently cited research – the USGS document titled “Preliminary Assessment of Non-Fuel Mineral Resources of Afghanistan 2007” – is merely one of 399 Afghanistan-related papers available on the USGS’s online Publications Warehouse. These findings corroborate the presence of some components, but they fall short of providing convincing proof of lithium availability.
Do China eye’s Afghanistan’s rich mineral? Do questions arise as to the reason why they won’t help in Afghanistan reconstruction?
After the recent news of Afghanistan’s minerals, the world believes China is already eyeing Afghanistan’s immense natural resources, ostensibly to assist in the reconstruction of the war-torn country, which is now predominantly dominated by the Taliban.
According to a recent article from U.S. Global Investors, the Americans hadn’t even departed Afghanistan when Chinese diplomats arrived to ‘assist.’ The following is an excerpt from the report:
“A Chinese foreign ministry official claimed that Beijing was ready to contribute in ‘Afghanistan’s rebuilding and development’ just hours after the Taliban completed their rapid conquest of Afghanistan.”
“Afghanistan’s mineral wealth is estimated to be worth between $1 trillion and $3 trillion. Opium poppy production in the country was valued at only $350 million in 2020, according to the estimate. To put it another way, Afghanistan’s underground mineral deposits might be worth nearly ten times the country’s infamous opium harvest. This defines the value of Afghanistan.
Even better for China is that if it gets its way Afghanistan will become the Saudi Arabia of Afghanistan? To put it another way, the central Asian country is said to be rich in lithium. With the world’s largest car market and a global shift to electric vehicles, China will undoubtedly want to grab every single pound of lithium it can.
Schoonover stated, “China, is the next-door neighbor,” and “is beginning on a very big green energy development program.” “Because of their density and physical qualities, lithium and rare piles of the earth are now irreplaceable. Those nutrients are important to them in the long run.”
If China decides to intervene, Given China’s track record, Schoonover believes there will be concerns about mining ventures’ long-term viability.
He further stated, “When mining isn’t done appropriately, it may be ecologically destructive,” and “harming some portions of the community that doesn’t have a lot of say.”
Given the persistent insecurity in Afghanistan, Beijing may be hesitant to engage in projects with the Taliban and instead focus on other areas. Khan noted that China had previously been burnt when it attempted to invest in a copper project that later stopped.
“I expect they would priorities other emerging/frontier geographies long before Taliban-led Afghanistan,” said Howard Klein of RK Equity, a lithium advisor.
Why there is all the fuss about Lithium around the whole world?
The lightest metal, lithium is a soft, silver-white mineral utilized in a variety of industrial uses, including the production of batteries. Lithium is particularly good at storing huge amounts of energy, making it ideal for renewable technologies with variable energy sources like solar and wind, and it’s already commonly utilized in electric vehicles for energy storage.
As the globe switches to renewable energy technologies, lithium demand is expected to triple by the end of this decade the price of lithium in China increased by 88 percent in the first three months of 2021, boosted mostly by the rise of the electric vehicle sector.
It is not just about Afghanistan’s hypothetical lithium resources that could be vital for a future built on renewable energy. Copper, which is used extensively in the generation of solar, wind, and bio-energy power; chromium, which is used in geothermal and concentrated solar power (CSP); and nickel, which is used in electric vehicles and energy storage, hydrogen energy generation, and geothermal, are also thought to be abundant in the country.