Cutting Through The BS Of The Afghanistan Resource "Bonanza"

Tyler Durden's picture

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seventree's picture

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.

Apostate's picture

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

Gully Foyle's picture


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.

assembler's picture

? I missed that expose. Link please.

Mitchman's picture

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

Arkadaba's picture

The Times is the official house organ of status quo.

LeBalance's picture

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

/tra la!/

Arkadaba's picture

lol - thanks - love the talking heads!

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?

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.

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.  

Rusty Shorts's picture

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

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!)


Quinvarius's picture

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

Hephasteus's picture

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

nmewn's picture

Blood for lithium.



A Nanny Moose's picture

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

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

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.

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.

Apostate's picture

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

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.

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.

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...

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.

TBT or not TBT's picture

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

Nihilarian's picture

Occam's Razor would indicate that whoever came up with the $1 trillion figure was smoking opium.

Mitchman's picture

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

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.

Kiwi Pete's picture

What is BF Afganistan? Is that like BFF Afganistan?

Trimmed Hedge's picture

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

buzzsaw99's picture

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

Calculated_Risk's picture

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.


Edmon Plume's picture


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

Cammy Le Flage's picture

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

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.



ginunn's picture

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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.

NotAlwaysSo's picture

Related, and kinda interesting.

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

Chupacabra's picture

Ir's worth . . . One TRILLION Dollars!

*Dr. Evil voice*

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.

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.

tip e. canoe's picture

pass the chillum brother pike

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.

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.

Rusty_Shackleford's picture

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


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

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.

septicshock's picture

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

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?

dark pools of soros's picture

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