Afghanistan Contains Some Of The World’s Most Precious Metals Needed For Climate Change Technologies

Graham Charles Lear
4 min readAug 24, 2021
lithium,

Has Joe Biden just handed an economic and strategic goldmine to China?

I will state categorically that he has and I will state categorically that he planned to do this.

Yesterday 23/8/2021 I wrote an article where I outlined the Military Analysis Of The Afghanistan region and in it, I gave evidence to the fact that China moved in right after Biden moved the goalposts and that he must have known about it as his intelligence advisers would have advised him that they would. you can read it below.

https://graham100200.medium.com/a-military-analysis-of-the-afghanistan-region-f2b52ba1d90a

Afghanistan is now thought to be possibly the richest repository in the World of lithium, gold, platinum, silver, copper, iron, chromite, uranium, and aluminium. And this is to say nothing of its massive resources of precious stones such as diamonds and rubies.

In the part of Afghanistan where many British soldiers lost their lives or were badly maimed or injured, lie deposits of precious ‘rare earth elements and other vital metals worth billions, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Some of these are essential in the production of ‘green’ alternatives to our current transport technologies.

And China has already secured mining rights to some of these riches — in at least one case for 30 years.

Part of the Helmand valley.

“The Saudi Arabia of Lithium”

Way back in 2010 a leaked memo from the Pentagon (reported in the New York Times) said Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium”. And this was before lithium had become an essential strategic resource in powering the ‘green agenda’ now being pursued vigorously by western nations including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Put simply, if Boris Johnson is outlawing new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 — and that is the declared policy of the UK Government — then the new electric cars will need lithium and other ‘rare earth elements for their batteries or we will all be going nowhere.

Estimates of the worth of the rich mineral deposits contained in Afghanistan vary widely, but in 2010 they were estimated by the US at over $1 trillion dollars. In 2019 Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum put the estimate far higher. We have seen estimates as high as $3 trillion given to various US government departments at a series of meetings in Washington in the early 2010s.

Detailed research by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) concluded that Afghanistan may hold 60 million metric tons of copper — worth $540 billion at today’s prices. They also estimated 2.2 billion tons of iron ore, and — crucially — 1.4 million tons of rare earth elements (REEs) such as lithium, lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, aluminium, gold, silver, zinc, and mercury.

The US Department of Defense, who quickly got involved in this research, even announced that their initial analysis in just one Afghan province alone showed the potential for lithium deposits as large as those of Bolivia, which has the world’s largest known lithium reserves.

Countering the Chinese threat — Remember President Trump?

In 2008, Reuters was reporting that Chinese companies had been signing contracts to develop the enormous untapped potential of Afghanistan’s underground natural resources — over which British soldiers fought and in some cases paid the ultimate price.

Under Donald Trump’s presidency, his administration recognised the critical strategic importance of many of the ‘rare earth elements and other minerals cited above. It was announced that the Bureau of Energy Resources would establish the Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI). Below I quote some statements from its key objectives.

“Increasing demand for renewable energy, electric vehicles, and battery storage technologies will create unprecedented demand for energy resource minerals. ERGI is a U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Energy Resources led effort designed to promote sound mining sector governance and resilient energy mineral supply chains.”

“Over 80 per cent of the global supply chain of rare earth elements, important minerals for electric vehicles and wind turbine components is controlled by one country

US Bureau of Energy Resources — Energy Resource Governance Initiative

Could Cornish lithium soon be powering our electric vehicles?

As President Biden gives up Afghanistan to China and Russia, could Cornwall come to the rescue? Cornwall is not only for cream teas.

Lithium is very rarely found worldwide. Unknown to most British people, however, it has been found in Cornwall. In 2016 a new British mineral exploration company was set up to focus on the sustainable extraction of lithium and other battery metals in the county’s historically significant mining district. Cornish Lithium Ltd has secured extensive mineral rights agreements across more than 500km2 of Cornwall and is working towards commercial drilling operations starting in 2024.

Two months ago the Company announced that it had successfully completed the construction of its Geothermal Water Test Site in Cornwall and installed its first demonstration plant to trial environmentally responsible Direct Lithium Extraction (‘DLE’) process technologies. It is therefore far ahead of any exploratory moves by the Chinese in Afghanistan, where any form of mining is fraught with difficulties.

It remains to be seen, but could Cornwall become the EU’s essential source of a key raw material in the technology needed for the EU Commission’s №1 priority: tackling climate change? If so we would have quite a bit of leverage over the EU and we should take full advantage of it.

[ Sources: United States Geological Survey | US Bureau of Energy Resources | US Defense Department | Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum | US Government Energy Resource Governance Initiative | New York Times | Cornish Lithium Ltd ]

--

--

Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.