Afghanistan Not So Poor After All

620px-Afghan_topo_en

It is well known that the war-torn country of the Texas-sized and mountainous country of Afghanistan had been largely unmapped in a geological sense. This is one of the poorest nations on earth, yet intensive geological research by American geologists over recent years have shown that this need not be so. A raft of extensive surveys found, perhaps not surprisingly, that , the country has mineral resources so vast that their world standing in terms of wealth would be changed dramatically if these untapped riches were to be exploited.  

Potentially  among the most mineral-rich nations on earth, Afghanistan in fact sits astride  untapped mineral wealth thought to be worth $1 trillion at the very least. The U.S. Geological Survey – USGS –  team in 2004 began running tests to inspect what mineral resources were actually there, and it turned out over several years that much of this often inaccessible landscape is hiding vast resources in terms of mineral reserves. These might be difficult to extract, but doing so could vastly improve the fortunes of this impoverished nation. 

Over the past eight years, the USGS team have flown missions  running magnetic, gravity and hyper-spectral surveys. These allowed them to detect the mineral content up to six miles deep  over seven tenths of the entire country. Their findings indicate that the outwardly dirt-poor country is sitting  on vast reserves of valuable minerals. There are quite literally billions of tons of iron ore,  copper  and  highly prized rare earth elements that  include rarities such as lanthanum, cerium and neodymium. Alongside these riches are proven lodes of gold,  silver, zinc, mercury, aluminium and lithium so Afghanistan is literally sitting on a vast goldmine of valuable resources.

A USGS spokesman commented that their work had shown up no less than 24 world-class mineral deposits. though exploitation of such mineral wealth is not liable to be any easy mission to accomplish. With accessibility to many sites such a massive problem, a very great deal of investment and planning would need to go into any proposed mining ventures, and the constant instability that has plagued this mountainous nation for decades is another important consideration. It will be the provision of the security on such sites that will determine their chances of success.

If a more stable government could be established in this war-torn country, and differences could be laid aside for the common good, then there is a rich bounty to be enjoyed by everyone who lives there. Such a scenario however is anything but easy to achieve.

Image via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghanistan#mediaviewer/File:Afghan_topo_en.jpg

 


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  1. TheBrit

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