A decade ago United States Geological performed a study in Afghanistan and identified deposits of mineral reserves in the region, later on it was estimated that these reserves can have the net worth of $1 Trillion. Afghan and foreign officials advertised these reserves as this can be a source in uplifting Afghanistan economy.
These reserves have various metals from Iron, Tantalum, Uranium, Zinc to Gold, Platinum and Silver. Explorers had also reported the reserves of natural gas in this region. Apart from these metals, the core reserves in which investors are mostly interested are the reserves of Lithium. Some reports say that Afghanistan has the potential to be the Saudi Arabia of Lithium. This metal is used in various electronic devices from laptops to mobile phones as well as in batteries. According to the Mining ministry study that was conducted in year 2014, there are enormous reserves of lithium in the eastern province of Ghazani and in far southern region of Gowde Zereh.
The only thing which is holding back the investors to invest in the mining sector in the country is the non-availability of basic logistic infrastructure. Investors and foreign mining companies are willing to set up their mining operation but they have one concern ;“how can they get the material out from the country?” This makes it tough to setup a mining sector.
Investors are usually cautious and there is no quick fix to this issue, even if somehow Afghanistan government did manage to secure some investments still then it will take them years to make a sustainable logistics structure and export links.
Right now there is zero mining and very little exploration in the region, although there are some small and medium sized mining operational in the region but they are operating outside the government control and generating profit for some powerful local operators.
Right now even USA has their eyes on Afghanistan mineral reserves. In July President Trump argued at a White House meeting that the USA should demand a share of Afghanistan minerals in exchange of their assistance they had provided to the Afghan Government.
This is the time where Afghan officials should step forward and make corrective measures to promote this sector so that they could achieve maximum economic benefit from this opportunity. In the last fiscal year government was only able to raise $18 million from this sector and it is projected that they will mark $1 billion revenue by 2029.