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News and Views

Afghanistan seeks regional help for use of mineral


Lalit K Jha,

Pajhwok Correspondent - Jun 17, 2010 - 10:35

WASHINGTON (PAN): The Afghan government is looking at India and China to help it in sustainable use of its vast natural resources, which is estimated to be worth $1 trillion, a top Afghan diplomat to the US said.

"We are looking into our NATO partner countries; their soldiers are in Afghanistan. But practically speaking, the two countries that are in our neighbourhood, China and India, which are very much in need of these resources, they may actually be forthcoming more than other countries," Ambassador Said T Jawad, told Pajhwok Afghan News in an interview .

The Ambassador however ruled that a large number of US companies are not forthcoming in helping Afghanistan realise the commercial potential of his country’s vast natural resources. This is probably, because of the security situation in Afghanistan and the distance, he said. "We are having hard time convincing US companies about it," he said .

A US study, released this week, revealed that Afghanistan has an estimated mineral wealth of $1 trillion dollars; including iron, copper, cobalt, gold and coal and more precious and industrious elements such as niobium which is used in producing superconducting steel .

Significant amounts of lithium deposits in Ghazni province have been identified and surveys are currently underway on dry salt lakes in western Afghanistan where experts believe to be even more lithium deposits. "All these minerals are in demand and have many applications in the computer and electronics industry," the ambassador said .

Jawad said for the first time in history, the US Geological Survey is currently leading a systematic scientific survey of Afghanistans deposits of mineral wealth and combining the precious resources in a unified report .

Earlier this week, the Afghan Minister of Mines, Wahidullah Shahrani, on a trip to New Delhi has invited India to invest in his country's mining sector, particularly on iron


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