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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Afghanistan – natural resources. Copper, gold, lithium – natural resources in Afghanistan

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After the Taliban takes power in Afghanistan, experts are wondering what will happen to the country’s unused mineral resources, writes CNN. Natural resources can prove crucial in combating climate change. According to Łukasz Grabowski, an expert from the Export Center of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, Afghanistan would become an attractive target for international business if the internal situation stabilized.

“Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. However, in 2010, US military officials and geologists revealed that a country that borders Central and South Asia has almost $ 1 trillion in mineral deposits that could radically change its economic situation.” – writes CNN.

“Deposits of raw materials such as iron, copper and gold are scattered throughout the country. Afghanistan is also home to rare earth minerals (common name for a family of 17 chemical elements – ed.) And, most importantly, some of the world’s largest lithium deposits – an essential but rare component of batteries and other devices necessary to solve the climate crisis “- notes the American portal.

Afghanistan is certainly one of the richest regions in traditional precious metals, but also in the raw materials necessary for the emerging economy of the 21st century, said Rod Schoonover, scientist and security expert, founder of the Ecological Futures Group.

“Security challenges, lack of infrastructure and severe droughts prevented the extraction of the most valuable minerals in the past. It is unlikely that this will soon change under Taliban control. However, despite the chaos, countries such as China, Pakistan and India may wish to become involved. “- reports CNN.

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Despite such abundant natural resources, the overwhelming majority of the country’s inhabitants live below the poverty line. According to a US Congressional Research Service report published in June, about 90 percent. Afghans live on less than $ 2 a day. In its latest report, the World Bank describes Afghanistan’s economy as “fragile and dependent on outside aid.”

Afghanistan is rich in minerals

On the other hand, as an expert from the Export Center of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, Łukasz Grabowski, points out, copper, cobalt, carbon and iron ore. There are also deposits of crude oil, natural gas and rare earth metals in the country. – One of them, with special potential, is lithium – a metal used, inter alia, in in aviation, in lithium cells and lithium-ion batteries – emphasizes Grabowski.

It is predicted that the demand for batteries due to the growing demand for electric cars will grow in the coming years – adds the expert.

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Grabowski emphasizes that “at the moment of stabilization of the domestic situation in the country and improvement of key development indicators (Afghanistan’s natural resources – ed.), It would become an attractive target for international business”.

The problem, as he points out, is not only the current situation in Afghanistan, but also a number of other factors – “corruption, low income collection, poor infrastructure, low job creation rate”. The Afghan market is a little institutionalized market, and running a business in this country requires personal presence and contacts from entrepreneurs – he adds.

Trade with Afghanistan

According to PAIH, according to UN data, in the last two years in Afghanistan there have been no announcements of new greenfield investments, i.e. those implemented in undeveloped areas and without infrastructure. Grabowski adds that since 2014 there have been a total of four such investments. – In the statistics of the National Bank of Poland, in all recent years, there have been no traces of Polish investments in Afghanistan, let alone Afghan investments in Poland – notes the expert.

As he noted, in the past, Polish companies made attempts to participate in tenders in Afghanistan. – At the beginning of 2020, the media announced the winning contract for the printing of Afghan banknotes by the Polish Security Printing Works – he recalled. At the same time, he assessed that due to the current situation in the country, the implementation of this contract was “questionable”.

Afghanistan, KabulSTRINGER / PAP / EPA

PAIH reminds that the balance of trade in goods between Poland and Afghanistan is definitely positive for the Polish side.

It reached the highest level in 2012 and amounted to PLN 107.9 million with imports at the level of PLN 3.9 million, but in the following years the trade turnover decreased. From 2016, however, they increased again and in 2020 it amounted to PLN 48.1 million with imports at the level of PLN 4.6 million.

– In the first half of 2021, sales from Poland to Afghanistan reached PLN 25.2 million. In turn, Polish entities imported goods from Afghanistan worth PLN 3.5 million, says Grabowski.

It indicates that in 2020 road tractors for towing semi-trailers, various types of vehicles, tires, trailers and semi-trailers, prefabricated buildings (other than wood), dairy products (milk, whey, and cream) dominated in the commodity structure of Polish exports in 2020. Imports in 2020 were dominated by the intestines, bladders and stomachs of animals, agricultural machinery, tableware, flours and meals, hand-woven rugs, saffron.

The Taliban seizes power

When the United States withdrew most of its troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban occupied much of the country’s territory. On Sunday, they entered the country’s capital Kabul and took control of the presidential palace. Earlier, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the city and went abroad, possibly to Tajikistan.

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Taliban representative Wahidullah Hashimi said Afghanistan will not become a democracy, the political system will be based on sharia, and the Taliban will encourage regular army soldiers and pilots to join their forces.

Taliban in AfghanistanPAP / EPA / STRINGER

The Taliban first took power in Afghanistan in 1996, after years of civil war in which they defeated other factions.

Formally founded in 1994, the Taliban comes from a group of mullah Omar students of Koranic schools in the southern country of Kandahar.

During their previous rule, the Taliban introduced a law in Afghanistan based on a strict interpretation of Sharia. Provisions which provide, inter alia, a ban on paid employment or education for women, an obligation for women to wear full-face burqas, and a ban on listening to music were brutally enforced. The Sunni Taliban also persecuted religious minorities, mainly Shi’ites.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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