According to a New York Times report, the country may have up to $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits, ranging from gold and copper to cobalt, lithium and iron. The newspaper went on to cite a Pentagon report’s suggestion that Afghanistan could become “the Saudi Arabia of lithium.”
The report quoted General David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command, as saying the country’s resources have “stunning potential,” and that the economic potential involved could eventually result in job creation and the potential for more stability.
However, the country has also been torn by decades of armed confict, which invites speculation about when extracting these materials would be feasible. Gold prices have been treading new record highs in light of ongoing economic concern in Europe, while lithium has seen growing demand in recent years because it is needed for various consumer electronic products.
Looking ahead, rising demand for consumer products in emerging economies is likely to continue fueling demand for the occasionally rare materials that are needed.
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