The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.
Articles

Afghanistan’s mines key to economic growth

Photo Iron mine in bamyan

The mines of Afghanistan and the future of the country’s economic growth

Afghanistan is endowed with valuable reserves of minerals and various mines. However, the continued conflicts and lack of economic stability over the past years have prevented the country from using them in production and economic growth. Security and stability are the most significant conditions for foreign investment in energy and mining sectors in any country, and all countries strive to provide the necessary conditions to attract foreign investment, while meeting their technical and financial needs, to increase economic growth and employment opportunities. Afghanistan is among the countries blessed with valuable reserves of minerals and various mines. However, the lack of political and economic stability, continued conflict, and turmoil in recent decades have prevented Afghanistan from harnessing this vast potential for wealth and prosperity. Some experts believe that with the Islamic Emirate takeover of Afghanistan, the groundwork for attracting foreign investment and technology to exploit the country’s mines has become more feasible. However, the main question is how the Islamic Emirate and the new government of Afghanistan view the country’s mines and natural resources, and whether foreign companies consider the conditions for investing in these mines justifiable. Foreign countries benefit from investment as a lever to achieve their political, economic, and security goals. Investment creates conditions that influence both the domestic and foreign policies of poor countries. In recent years, China has effectively utilized investment as a lever in poor countries. It has invested in exploiting the mines of African countries. In recent years, advanced countries have invested in battery production to increase battery storage capacity. Two important elements in the battery industry are cobalt and lithium, both of which are abundantly found in Afghanistan’s mines. Battery capacity enhancement plays a crucial role in the energy transition process for mobile phones, electric vehicles, and solar power plants. Considering lithium’s role in the energy transition process, the importance of Afghanistan’s lithium mines in helping other countries achieve zero-carbon goals can be doubled. It should be noted that other abundant minerals found in Afghanistan include copper, coal, lapis lazuli, and iron ore. Afghanistan also has oil, gas, and precious stones, while the value of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth has been estimated at three trillion dollars. China is among the countries that have been in contact with the Islamic Emirate in recent years. Some experts believe that in recent years, due to the government’s focus on renewable energies and the energy transition process, the value of Afghanistan’s mines has increased because some minerals in this country will play a significant role in the energy transition process. China aims to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2060, an ambitious goal that, if achieved, will be a significant step in controlling and managing climate change. The increase in battery capacity will play a crucial role in this goal, and Afghanistan’s mines can attract the attention of Chinese officials. It is worth mentioning that in the past decade, Chinese companies have won several tenders to exploit some of Afghanistan’s mines but have been unable to operationalize their projects due to ongoing insecurity. For example, a Chinese metallurgy group has had the right to exploit one of Afghanistan’s largest copper reserves since 2007. As long as the Islamic Emirate’s policies regarding economic development, growth, and foreign investment are not evident, we can’t expect these mines will be utilized for sustainable development in this country. Although security is ensured countrywide and the American withdrawal from Afghanistan has led to the ending of the war, a robust and clear mechanism and regulations are vital to pave the way for proper utilization and extraction of the country’s minerals. Sayed Asef Fekrat

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.