Don’t Bet Against China in Fight Over Afghan Minerals

June 18, 2010

In the June 14th edition of the New York Times, there is an article about newly-discovered mineral wealth in Afghanistan.

Seems that some American geologists stumbled upon some old charts back in 2004 in Afhani government mining offices…charts that had been made by the Russians back when they occupied Afghanistan in the ‘80s…showing large mineral deposits. The geologists notified the Pentagon, who got involved.

(My first thought was, “why was the Pentagon involved in a minerals survey of Afghanistan?” Then I remembered US Marine General Smedley Butler’s book, ”War is a Racket,” and understood. The military is the security force for American big business.)

Now, nearly 30 years later, technology is advanced sufficiently to allow geologists to more accurately determine what’s underground, and how much lies there.

The article mentioned vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and lithium. If you’re not familiar with lithium, think of your cell phone battery. The largest lithium deposits known to date are in Bolivia, and geologists estimate that Afghanistan’s lithium deposits could equal or exceed Bolivian deposits.

Now Afghan’s government officials know there’s vast wealth to be made in their country, thanks to the Americans who located it and verified its locations. And this wealth is not related to opium production. Mining operations could take many years to commence, but the strategic bidding for mineral rights could begin very soon.

The two biggest contestants for this mineral wealth will be the USA and China. The US government will view this as their right, since they have overrun the country and are in their usual “nation-building” mode. They will muscle the Afghans and try to steamroll them. It might be reasonable to expect that US military forces be on the ground for the foreseeable future…perhaps permanently.

What does Afghanistan share with the USA? Nothing but animosity. Puppet President Hamid Karzai has become much less cooperative and more hostile toward the Americans who are trying to run his country. And the Afghanis have all those sweet memories of Predator drone aircraft dropping ordinance on their neighbors and families.

Meanwhile, China has already negotiated to produce copper in the Aynak copper mine in Logar Province. China has a rapidly growing population that needs iron, copper, cobalt, gold and lithium. China shares a border with Afghanistan, as well as an Eastern cultural base.

China has proven itself a skillful and cunning negotiator in foreign trade issues. While America was slapping oil drilling bans on American soil, the Chinese quietly negotiated a massive deal with Canada for oil from their Athabasca shale oil fields in Western Alberta, as well as mineral deals from other nations.

Let me bring another wild card into the game. Where there’s copper, there’s always gold. The US doesn’t seem to care about gold at all these days. But China is selling off US debt and buying tons of gold. I wrote about a strategy China might use to monetize the Yuan with gold in Secession, China and Gold Money. China will be in a position to pay for minerals with gold if that scenario ever occurs. America? Not so much. Washington will ship a pallet or two of $100 bills.

So, who do you think will win in this contest…America or China?

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© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.