Mineral resources of Afghanistan
A RECENT report published by the US Geological Survey (USGS), in conjunction with the ministry of mines and minerals, Government of Afghanistan, has shown the most advanced techniques ever used by Americans for any country in the world for calculation of mineral resources. Estimated important deposits in terms of dollars are given here:
Copper $27 billion
Niobium $21 billion
Cobalt $51 billion
Gold $25 billion
Value of all these findings is claimed to be one trillion dollars but their estimates are as high as three trillion dollars. Last month a consortium of Indian companies signed an agreement with the Afghan government to acquire large leases to invest $10.3 billion. Exploitation of the biggest iron deposit at Haji Gak with its latest resources of 1.8 billion tons of iron ore will possibly start in 2015 and Pakistan will be used as a corridor of this business.
The story of the Haji Gak iron deposit is quite interesting. History reveals that Germans were the first one to exploit this deposit systematically after planning a steel mill during or after World War I. But the Great Game prevented this venture. Russians in the sixties prepared a comprehensive report on the mineral resources of Afghanistan and tried to exploit but they also failed.
When the Kala Bagh steel mill was planned in the late 1960s here in Pakistan, it was thought to use some percentage of Haji Gak iron ore as ours was not of good quality but this scheme also failed.
Now Indians as a front man of Americans will try to exploit it. An amazing experiment under the New Great Game!
IFTIKHAR A. MALIK