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Cutting Through The BS Of The Afghanistan Resource "Bonanza"

Tyler Durden's picture




 

By Louis James of Casey's International Speculator

Geological anomalies are like opinions: Everybody has one

There’s a great deal of chatter in the press and online about the tremendous US$1-trillion-dollar mineral “discovery” in Afghanistan headlined by The New York Times recently. Most of the discussion seems to centre on whether or not this is really news and whether or not the NYT was played by the powers that be for purposes of their own. Few, if any, people seem to be questioning the value of the so-called discovery itself. The US$1-trillion-dollar figure, at best, cannot be anything more than the wildest of hopeful guesses.

One does not have to be a geologist or an engineer to understand why. When geologists find outcropping mineralization, or other signs that an economic deposit of minerals may be present, that is not called a discovery. Even if the signs come from the latest scientific equipment flown over the country, as the U.S. government appears to have used, the result is still just an anomaly: a hopeful indication of where to look. And anomalies are like opinions: Everybody has one.

Once an anomaly is identified, it takes extensive and very expensive field work to determine the best locations for drilling holes in the ground, which you have to do to calculate a volume of mineralized rock, from which you can estimate the metal contained. It usually takes at least a year, and often several, to identify targets for drilling. And drilling off a deposit of any significant size takes several more years, usually after many false starts and setbacks, because you can’t see through rock to know where the goods are.

But even after you drill off a deposit, and know how big it is, how deep it is, and roughly what’s in it, you still don’t know what it’s worth. For that, you have to conduct extensive testing on the mineralized material, not just to quantify the metals or other desirable minerals within but also to see if there are contaminants, or other elements present that can complicate, or even make impossible the economic recovery of the valuable mineral.

In short, until you know how much it would cost to mine and process any sort of mineralized material into a saleable product, like gold bars, copper concentrate, etc., you cannot say what it’s worth. Even a huge deposit of gold may be completely worthless if the grade is low and there’s lots of carbon that would mess up the gold recovery.

Now, back to Afghanistan. A “small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists” cannot possibly have drilled off these deposits, let alone done the engineering required to value them. At very best, they’ve spotted some outcrops and taken some samples. This is not a discovery — no serious exploration geologist would call anything a discovery until enough holes have been drilled into it to outline a significant volume of potentially economic material.

What we have here is a regional survey that may or may not lead to significant discoveries.

Where do they get the trillion-dollar figure? We can only guess but given their own description, they cannot have done the work necessary to generate any reasonable estimate. It’s worth pointing out that the vast majority of mineral outcroppings and other anomalies never lead to economic discoveries, much less mines. Even a very rich vein sticking right out on surface can turn out to be the last dregs of a system that has been eroded away, leaving nothing but a tease behind. For gold, the odds of an anomaly leading to an economic discovery are often cited as being on the order of 300 to one, against.

No responsible geologist would circulate a valuation figure at this stage of the process in Afghanistan. In fact, if a public company put out a press release like this story in the NYT, the exchange would likely reprimand it severely and require a retraction.

Now, the soldier quoted admits that “There are a lot of ifs,” but that does not excuse putting out the US$1-trillion figure, a number that cannot be reasonably supported at this point.

Note that this doesn’t mean the minerals are not there — Afghanistan has, for obvious reasons, not seen any modern exploration, or even antiquated exploration, for decades. It is, in all likelihood, a terrific place to look for minerals. But the government’s story sounds like the sort of PR stunt put out by Pink Sheet scammers.

It will take time for any real discoveries to be made, especially given the time required to draft a workable mining law and for physical security to be established in the country. It would be a great benefit to the people of Afghanistan, and of the world, if this would happen

 

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Thu, 06/17/2010 - 20:37 | 420558 seventree
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In its more respectable days, the Times would have called up a few top geologists and mining engineers before they even wrote this story.

I wonder if this was just a test, to see if a leading newspaper would print anything they were told without checking. Test result: success.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 20:49 | 420569 Apostate
Apostate's picture

Hah. Dexter Filkins is practically a mercenary. Not too far removed from Judith "CIA Parrot" Miller, either. 

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 22:31 | 420688 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Apostate

Miller was supposed to be the one to be present when the WMD's BUSHCO tried to smuggle into Iraq were discovered. That went south and here we are today.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 00:46 | 420815 assembler
assembler's picture

? I missed that expose. Link please.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 20:51 | 420573 Mitchman
Mitchman's picture

The Times is the official house organ of the Democratic party and does what it is told.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:11 | 420596 Arkadaba
Arkadaba's picture

The Times is the official house organ of status quo.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:22 | 420613 LeBalance
LeBalance's picture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WcnDBq9Ilc

The serendipitous intro, the House connection, and the end result to said House.

/tra la!/

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:41 | 420628 Arkadaba
Arkadaba's picture

lol - thanks - love the talking heads!

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 23:02 | 420723 Sespian
Sespian's picture

These deposits have been known about for decades and the official US geological survey was completed in 2006.  The real question is: Why does the Pentagon want this in the headlines now?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mnp7qXjpgRs

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 00:19 | 420807 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

 - hmm

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 03:06 | 420879 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

I seem to me that Cameron wants troops out of Afghanistan fastest possible (to be checked)

 

Maybe time to spirit up the coalition of the willing by showing them what they would miss if they dont commit themselves up to the end.

If you pull out now, you a bad dog, no biscuit.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 20:43 | 420562 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

and then there is the argument that a wealth of resources is actually a detriment to nations, example opec, because they come to depend on the resource and do not develop the human capital necessary for real economic development.  also adding "blood minerals" to opium/heroin seems to give the taliban yet another reason to fight/resource to draw on.  

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 00:23 | 420809 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

-pffftt...a detriment to nations you say, just look at Africa, and the wonderful benefits of natural resources.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 20:46 | 420564 berlinjames02
berlinjames02's picture

The US will have been in Afghanistan longer than the Soviets on 1 December this year. Has it been 9 years already?? (Yes!)

 

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 20:53 | 420575 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

It it really is worth 1 trillion now, it will be worth 2 trillion in Dec.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:20 | 420609 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

It's deep storage in gold etf's already. LOL

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:31 | 420618 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Blood for lithium.

 

 

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 23:26 | 420745 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Do I hear 3? Already saw an article today with that figure.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 20:53 | 420576 strannick
strannick's picture

The Gobi dessert could be classified  as a 'trillion dollar mineral' bonanza, if you dont mind reducing your minimum cutoff grade for gold from the average 1 gram per ton to say 1/100th of a gram per ton. Presto, mega mega gold resources. Unfortunately it would cost you 2 trillion to process it, and you would have to mill half the sand in the dessert

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 01:32 | 420843 TGR
TGR's picture

Likewise any ocean of planet earth. 

It will be kind of amusing though when there's a major news fanfare on the amount of gold in the gobi sands or the Indian Ocean. It will likely come at another major gold price level, say 2300, and will just be another flash in the pan.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 20:56 | 420579 fiasco
fiasco's picture

people say-a we in iraq for the oil.

now people say we in afghanistan for precious metals.

why the government-a want us to think-a this way, because stupidos only a cursory reading of the facts goes in most minds and that is what's news.

so the government has given the people a bad reason to be in afghanistan because a bad reason is better than no reason or a complicated reason like making a chess move in international politico.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:15 | 420600 Apostate
Apostate's picture

It came shortly after Bob Herbert called for a departure of Afghanistan.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/12/opinion/12herbert.html

While no one listens to Herbert, it's a solid indicator of the current state of public opinion among establishment liberals.

Other opinion-makers have also gone doveish recently. The Pentagon must sense intuitively that they're all about to get fired.

So yeah, they run a pink-sheet style scam in order to drum up the mercenary business some time down the line. There will be no jobs and no pensions for those soldiers, officers, and others when they return home.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:47 | 420636 Mitchman
Mitchman's picture

George Will, a pretty steady right-winger, was against it from the beginning and other influential right-wingers have turned against the war as well.  And don't forget that this miraculous find took McChrystal's assessment that the war was going to take longer than we thought off the front pages.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 22:50 | 420708 Paladin en passant
Paladin en passant's picture

Let's practice thinking a little more deeply and geostrategically, shall we. 

The Chinese have displayed a willingness to go to any hellhole on earth to buy up material, engage in mining partnerships.  Think Sudan.  If we could, perhaps, get them into Afghanistan...

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 02:43 | 420869 Nonconformist
Nonconformist's picture

The Chinese are already in Afghanistan developing a large copper deposit.  Just as in Iraq, we are the chumps standing by while others reap the rewards of our sacrifice.  We have to be the stupidest empire in history.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 04:57 | 420918 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

That is interesting.   Got a link for that one?   Thanks.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 20:57 | 420583 Nihilarian
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Occam's Razor would indicate that whoever came up with the $1 trillion figure was smoking opium.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:44 | 420633 Mitchman
Mitchman's picture

Did they use Occam's Razor to cut it? :-)

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:15 | 420597 Augustus
Augustus's picture

There are significant deposits.  the problem is they are in BF Afghanistan.  No transport in or out.  Dope on the airplane or donkey works.  try sending in mining equipment that way.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 05:00 | 420919 Kiwi Pete
Kiwi Pete's picture

What is BF Afganistan? Is that like BFF Afganistan?

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:16 | 420601 Trimmed Hedge
Trimmed Hedge's picture

You mean sort of like how Zero Hedge & its followers have an opinion?

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:18 | 420606 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Mineral resources are a curse to any nation once the usa vacuum cleaners get wind of it.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:19 | 420607 Calculated_Risk
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it takes extensive and very expensive field work to determine the best locations for drilling holes in the ground, which you have to do to calculate a volume of mineralized rock, from which you can estimate the metal contained. It usually takes at least a year, and often several, to identify targets for drilling. And drilling off a deposit of any significant size takes several more years, usually after many false starts and setbacks, because you can’t see through rock to know where the goods are.

 

THIS, is the intrinsic value of gold, silver etc.. It takes WORK to find, extract

and refine.

 

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 11:31 | 421288 Edmon Plume
Edmon Plume's picture

+1

Good point, at least if you're one of those saps who thinks that wealth isn't just printed into existence. :D

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:33 | 420620 Cammy Le Flage
Cammy Le Flage's picture

As Jim Sinclair stated, you would have to take lithium to go get it.  Yawn.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:37 | 420625 anony
anony's picture

Couldn't be that the type and value of resources there were already known 10 years ago by the Oligarchs and that's the real reason the troops were gradually moved from Iraq to Afghanistan. Nah.

 

 

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:37 | 420626 ginunn
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Louis James really touched on a few brief points covering the journey from pretty rocks to producing mines. There are a lot of other steps such as geochemical analyses, grab sampling, trenching, airborne magnetometer surveys, and other standard geological techniques. Then there are the different studies and stages of reporting that occur in the development process such as resource estimates based on standard reporting requirements, economic analysis - all leading to a pre-feasibility study. The final step is a feasibility study that determines if the proposed mine is economic and under what conditions. Water, electricity and transportation are all critical elements, without which, the project is likely not economic.

This in short is how commercial mining companies function. In the process, a "trillion dollars" of mineral resources rapidly becomes quite pedestrian, when the capital costs of developing them are placed in perspective.

 

This in short is how comercial mining companies function. In the process, a "trillion dollars" of mineral resources rapidly becomes quite pedetrian, when the capital costs of developing them are placed in perspective.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:47 | 420637 NotAlwaysSo
NotAlwaysSo's picture

Related, and kinda interesting.

http://main.uab.edu/Sites/MediaRelations/articles/78097/

So this casts the Times article as U.S. Military IPO prep...

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:48 | 420639 Chupacabra
Chupacabra's picture

Ir's worth . . . One TRILLION Dollars!

*Dr. Evil voice*

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 22:00 | 420644 Hondo
Hondo's picture

Complete hype!! If there was truly anything there that could be extracted profitably it would have been done a long time ago. Pure conjecture that the dynamics of extracting at a profit have changed so quickly nobody noticed but the us government. That is truly laughable.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 22:01 | 420647 Pike Bishop
Pike Bishop's picture

Most of the discussion seems to centre on whether or not this is really news and whether or not the NYT was played by the powers that be for purposes of their own.

Isn't Bill Keller still at the NYT?

Any other questions or aluminum tubes?

It was the Sunday morning front page which Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice et al. carried in their hands to the Sunday morning talk shows, for the September launch of their March to Iraq PR campaign. Ten months later, Chimpy McFlightsuit is declaring "Mission Accomplished".

Maybe Cindy Miller switched from pseudo-journalism to pseudo-geology.

In any event, Bill believes you have to go along to get along.

Think about it. This isn't reporting, it's stenography, and has no meaning in any context other than for those who want to keep up the interest level for squandering lives and taxpayer money in Afghanistan.

Maybe the Afghans will throw down their poppy field hoes, for picks and shovels.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 22:35 | 420691 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

pass the chillum brother pike

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 04:54 | 420916 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

"Chimpy McFlightsuit "    I guess you are talking about that famous former pilot of a particularly dangerous supersonic interceptor, George "W" Bush ?   You know, not just a couple of lessons on VFR with an instructor in the plane, but solo flying, on instruments, and also on weapon systems, for you know, missions protecting the United States from potential bomber attacks.    Remember the cold war?    Seemed like a big enough deal at the time to task good people to do this sort of thing.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 22:08 | 420660 P-K4
P-K4's picture

A ploy no less to see if the natives will set up shop and get chemical run off to ruin their money crop. As a productive farmer, the family and I can grow those wonderous bulbs and rake in money from the druglords and whatever subsidies foreign governments will give me. To convert to a miner, the state buys earth moving equipment and I lose my land, rights, and children. 

Maybe the next "strategic move" is have the drones carry heavier loads so as to clear a path for the roads, to mine the minerals. I am thinking this has the making of a Michner novel.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 22:27 | 420681 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

I'm sure most of you have seen this already, but if not, it's a riot.

 

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-june-15-2010/ore-on-terror

 

"The free ride to rubble-town is over!"

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 07:25 | 420971 Rick64
Rick64's picture

Good one.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 22:45 | 420703 Captain Willard
Captain Willard's picture

How does Louis James know whether or not the proper analysis was conducted to substantiate the mineral deposit story? Sadly, he is talking through his a--hole too. If he's going to refute the story, he should at least do so properly. I realize the NYT story was thin and that you can't prove a negative, but surely he can do better than point out the obvious.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 23:06 | 420729 septicshock
septicshock's picture

Excellent work on this article.  I love this site... cutting through the bull.  Thank you TD and team.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 23:51 | 420776 zen0
zen0's picture

All this fabulous mineral wealth belongs to the Afghanis, right?

 

How come they just don't dig it up and get rich?

 

Then they could afford to fight the Taliban on their own.

That is going to happen, isn't it?

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 00:09 | 420794 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

huh?  and all that oil in the gulf belongs to the americans...   well. I guess it does now...

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 09:11 | 421080 Treeplanter
Treeplanter's picture

No, our Iraqi friends sold the oil to Saddam's old buddies.  It was blood for the satisfaction of killing off a lot of jihadis and making Al Queda old news.  Expect Chinese exploration teams headed by Canadian geologists to find out what is where.  They will bring gold for the tribal chiefs and find the Taliban would be happy to see them invest and create an industry they can take over later.     

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 00:04 | 420789 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

The Bamster hammered on his political opponents for the Iraq adventure, arguing that the real mission was Afghanistan.   On this particular campaign point he kept true to his word, doubling or tripling down in the graveyard of empires.  This was s.t.u.p.i.d. unless the point was to demoralise our military in a quagmire where their rules of engagment are now in many significany ways more limiting than those for SWAT teams are with american citizens.  

The putatitve existence of trillions in =lithium= creates a strategic reason to stay the course, a hope the place can stand on its own one day thanks to lithium revenues, and a moralistic reason to stick it out too:  lithium is critical to the lefts green future fantasies.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 03:22 | 420891 FranSix
FranSix's picture

All commodities are subject to wild swings in price, so lithium will probably see the same wild price swings as uranium or oil, or copper or nickel.

Lithium-6 comprises 7% of lithium deposits and is a naturally occurring isotope.  The only established use for lithium-6 is in thermonuclear weapons as it transmutes into tritium providing the yield.  It has only one use.  

Lithium-6 is the only dependable way of storing nuclear fuel for thermonuclear weapons, as tritium is impossible to store.  The only other nuclear fuel required is the plutonium trigger.  Thermonuclear weapons have very little shelf life as plutonium would degrade the equipment.  

Most people's perception of these types of weapons and what they require are primitive or childish at best.  Even if you took the time to inform the public that thermonuclear weapons require lithium-6 for fuel, they would react with disbelief.  People have been kept in total ignorance of the purpose of lithium-6.

Its no accident that a lithium rush, ostensibly for the purposes of green technology, should be foisted on the public following the blowout of the uranium rush.  Its called fleet renewal in terms of rebuilding the nuclear arsenal, as there's also a massive arms race going on.

But its like saying the reason for going to war in Vietnam was for oil. Er, no, not exactly.  You would have to take a survey of all known lithium deposits around the world and whether they aren't all in left leaning countries.  Of course, you could develop a peak  lithium theory to accompany false hopes for prices always in your favour.

I presume that in the collapse of the invasion of Afghanistan, the soviets may have clung to some reason for staying in the country, though glasnost was the deciding factor in the end of soviet occupation.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 00:06 | 420790 syvanen
syvanen's picture

My first reaction to the NY Times article was that it was pur hype. The give away was the first mineral mentioned namely iron ore.  If anyone knows anything about the economics of iron ore mining is that the cost of transportation to the industrial centers that use iron.  Best is close, via rail line to the smelters. Next is close to the ports that carry the ore to Tokyo, Shanghai, wherever. Third, if not close to centers or ports, then access to rail lines that lead to those ports or centers.  Basically, the rail lines have to go down hill, if the trains have to pull the ore over mountain passes then the cost of transportation is prohibitive.  Afghanistan strikes out on all accounts. First no where near any industrial center. Second, its ore would have to be carried over high mountain passes. Third, Afghanistan does not have a rail network.  Using diesel powered trucks to carry the ore over mountain passes is absurd on it face.  One may argue that purity of the ore may overcome these transportation problems, but no that is not the case. There are marginal mines in Africa that have pre-existing rail lines, all down hill to the nearest ports where the primary deposits are 60% iron.  And these are today profitablem but marginal at best.

 

They also mentioned lithium, cobalt and copper in the article, but if their economic analysis was as deficient on those items as it was on iron ore, this story is pure b*** sh**.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 06:35 | 420947 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

Are you sure?

I'm pretty sure that the big natural resource finds in Africa (diamonds, oil, minerals, PM's) has lead to a rapid increase in the wealth, peace, prosperity, and living standards for those particular African countries. </sarcasm>

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 09:17 | 421085 Treeplanter
Treeplanter's picture

The Afghans have to use Pakistan or Iran to get to the sea.  If Iran overthrows the mullahs then we might see some action.  Otherwise, Pakistan will own it all in their long quest to make Afghanistan a colony.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 00:13 | 420798 mcguire
mcguire's picture

breaking news!  17 AWOL Afghans from military base....  

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/06/17/afghan-military-deserters-missing-air-force-base/

what we need to do is stay calm and put together a group of geologists and mining companies to look for them in the mineral deposits.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 00:40 | 420813 Apostate
Apostate's picture

Damn, this empire doesn't even know how to manage its own Janissaries.

Hope they stay away from NYC, at least.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 07:10 | 420950 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

I know how to find them.  Just look for an orange and yellow smoke filled van.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWiYphJUS7Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2F80llZ5F4

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 01:48 | 420851 zevulon
zevulon's picture

an article  released today about 17 afghanis' awol in the u.s. 

ayesterday gates spoke about iran hitting europe with missiles, 

bbefore that it was the afghani mineral strike. 

in the good old days of bush we would have called this a code orange hattrick. 

i'm almost starting to miss the good ol' days.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 02:03 | 420856 dcb
dcb's picture

I thought the story was funny. clearly we have a lot of stupid white men in the pentagon. For our greedy corrupt colonialist leaders (and other assorted fools) it looks good. To the billion or so muslims it is just another example of the war on muslims to obtain the vast mineral wealth.

Look they invaded Iraq for the oil and now they want to steal muslim mineral wealth. It is war against the muslims for resources. Osama has been given a gold mine of propaganda.

I was also happy to now know the real reason we still have troops in that place. We should thank the times for exposing our greed.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 09:19 | 421090 Treeplanter
Treeplanter's picture

Stupid white men?  Your racism is showing, fool.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 02:39 | 420866 mee-mee-mee
mee-mee-mee's picture

No mention of the trillions to be made in Opium??

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 02:44 | 420870 FourWude
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Reality of "$1 Trillion Mineral Deposits in Afghanistan"

 

1. Most estimates tend to upper band initially. The ability to procure all known resources is 0%. At some stage the cost of exploiting said resources increases to the point where it surpasses their market value and are thus NEVER MINED.

1.1 Add in the fact that in the later stages the mining of said resources becomes almost impossible because of their deteriorating quantity, quality and easy availability.

 

2. Some pro-war hawks, (read thieves), happy at the discovery of the Resources, now believe the resources may be used to fund the Afghan war and post-war building. Except for a number of points that need to be made.

2.1 Firstly the ability of the US to "steal" all of these resources without a massive Afghan and International backlash is 0%. It's difficult enough to secure highly armed military bases, securing open mines without Afghan help would be impossible.

2.2 Theoretically the only way to make money of the resources is to get contracts for US companies to mine the resources and make sure they take a generous cut. (These are typically of 40% of all that is mined and sold onto the markets. Let's say the US manages to cut a 50% deal, a generous one).

2.3 Even if the US managed a 50% deal, that's a theoretical 50% off an upper estimate of $1 Trillion, highly unlikely. True revenues to the US companies would be around $400 Billion if that, the other half going to the Afghans.

 

3. The War in Afghanistan has already cost far more than $400 Billion. If you add in all budgeted, unbudgeted, back door, underhand and non-declared costs of the war as well as future Interest Payments, the Afghan War has already exceeded $1 Trillion. That's the total cost to the US economy, today and into the future.

3.1 It costs more than $150 Billion a YEAR (total budgeted and unbudgeted etc NOT including future Interest Repayments) to fight the war in Afghanistan. In 2007, the Base Budget for the WoT was around $75 Billion, supplemental was $150 Billion and additional Defence costs on top of those. Since then costs have RISEN, and the Afghan war now costs more than the Iraq war Year on Year spending. $400 Billion wouldn't even pay for 3 Years in Afghanistan (and that's NOT including future Interest Repayments). And if these numbers seem inflated remember the additional $30 Billion that was recently pushed through by Congress for Afghan War payments that were urgently needed. That was effectively the cost of a few more months in Afghanistan and the Marjah surge alone.

3.2 There is NO reason to stay in Afghanistan to exploit resources if that is the main concern of pro-war hawks. The Taliban do not possess, not now, not anytime in the nearby future the technology to procure the resources, so stopping it falling into their hands is another misnoma, much like the notion the US would have to fight the Taliban on US soil if it was not in Afghanistan. (No outside nation would allow contracts to be formed without a government of the Afghan people. And if the US still doesn't like the government or those in power, they can always sanction and stop all trade).

 

4. If the US is genuine (Ha!) and about peace in Afghanistan etc etc, they should be looking to allow the Afghans to use the mineral resources for themselves. Allow jobs and domestic industry to rise up which would give them an avenue away from the Poppy farming, Drug Warlords and Militants. It's the single best way to achieve peace in Afghanistan and would probably be better at fighting the Taliban than any bombing campaign or surge could ever do.

 

SIDE NOTE:

 

5. The Drug Trade coming out of Afghanistan is reportedly around $70 Billion. It's a much more lucrative trade than even mining resources. NUMBER 1 REASON WHY US IS STILL IN AFGHANISTAN AS WELL AS CONTROL OF CENTRAL ASIAN OIL AND ASIAN MEGAPIPELINES.

5.1 Of that $70 Billion drug trade, the Taliban get around a few hundred Million (estimate), the Afghan Farmers not much more and the Drug Lords sided with the CIA a few Billion. So where does most of it go? They don't call it the Cocaine Import Agency for nothing folks. And that's why folks, the War on Drugs is an even bigger sham than the War on Terror, but I'll save that story for another day.

 

 

 

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 03:07 | 420881 Nonconformist
Nonconformist's picture

Excellent points, this is why the Chinese will develop the economical deposits and look the other way while the Afghans continue with the opium trade. If there are enough minerals in Afghanistan it might even become the next Tibet in another 50 years.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 04:39 | 420912 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

"They now came upon more and more of the big scarlet poppies, and fewer and fewer of the other flowers; and soon they found themselves in the midst of a great meadow of poppies. Now it is well known that when there are many of these flowers together their odor is so powerful that anyone who breathes it falls asleep, and if the sleeper is not carried away from the scent of the flowers, he sleeps on and on forever. But Dorothy did not know this, nor could she get away from the bright red flowers that were everywhere about; so presently her eyes grew heavy and she felt she must sit down to rest and to sleep."

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rgs/oz-8.html

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 06:43 | 420954 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

Papaver somniferum

 

"The sleep of death"

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 08:37 | 421025 King_of_simpletons
King_of_simpletons's picture

Drilling for minerals is so 19th century. Satellite imagery, remote sensing is used for most part to gather estimates.

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 09:23 | 421097 Treeplanter
Treeplanter's picture

Isn't this just surface information?  Don't you have to drill to find out how deep deposits go? 

Fri, 06/18/2010 - 09:29 | 421105 jms2112
jms2112's picture

Thank you for some common sense here!

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