Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hope for Afghans

A geological survey of Afghanistan has established that it contains a range of minerals that could together be worth a trillion dollars.
Anywhere else this would be considered exciting news. The tragedy for Afghans is that it must be feared that the geologists’ findings will simply give the country something else to fight over.
It does not, however, have to be this way. Providing these mineral riches are used for the benefit of Afghans and not of outsiders, their existence could actually prove to be an incentive for the Taleban to commit to talks and peace. They represent a legitimate basis on which the country can take back its destiny. However, clearly there is no chance of exploiting these world-class deposits of iron ore and copper together with magnesium, chromium, gold, nickel, mercury and lithium and other rare minerals, while the fighting is still going on. Though the Chinese have bought an iron ore concession near Kabul, no serious development has taken place. Understandably, other interested mining companies are holding back, not simply because of security problems but because they maintain that Afghan law relating to mining leases and dispute resolution needs to be clarified. READ MORE

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