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$1 Trillion In Minerals Found In Afghanistan

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the troops-home-by-christmas dept.

Earth 688

clustro writes "American geologists working with the Pentagon have discovered deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and lithium of incredible bounty, amounting to nearly $1 trillion. In fact, the lithium deposits are so vast, an internal Pentagon memo has stated that Afghanistan could become the 'Saudi Arabia of lithium.' The wealth of the deposits completely flattens the current GDP of Afghanistan, estimated at about $12 billion. Mining would completely transform the economy of Afghanistan, which presently is propped up by the opium trade and foreign aid. However, it could take decades for extraction to reach its full potential due to the war, the lack of heavy industry in the country, and a corrupt national government."

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Trillionth posting (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562430)

Do I win an award?

Re:Trillionth posting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562466)

ya, my dick in your mouth.

That's Great But... (5, Insightful)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562436)

This basically means we're staying in Afghanistan indefinitely. Even worse, in the end the only ones who will benefit are the corporations. The taxpayers and the government will never see any of that money.

Re:That's Great But... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562476)

This basically means we're staying in Afghanistan indefinitely. Even worse, in the end the only ones who will benefit are the corporations. The taxpayers and the government will never see any of that money.

Who do you think works for the corporations? Answer: The taxpayers.

Also, do you think mining is going to be a nonprofit organization? They'll pay taxes to the government.

This is great news because this could help wipe out Afghanistan's poverty, the actual biggest obstacle to a functioning government.

Re:That's Great But... (5, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562528)

Who do you think works for the corporations? Answer: The taxpayers.

Yes, but which taxpayers will benefit: Afghani or USA ones ?

The wealth should be for the Afghanis, not the western powers who will now try to put in ''development teams'' -- who, in reality, will try to get as much of the profits into western coffers.

Re:That's Great But... (5, Funny)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562612)

Yes, but which taxpayers will benefit: Afghani or USA ones ?

It will benefit the gov't of Haliburton.

Re:That's Great But... (5, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562660)

The Afghanis should get rich, but the wealth extraction requires expertise they don't have (killing each other has been more fun down the centuries).

Expect leases to go up for bid as in Iraq. This is probably for the best, as competing major nations can buy in rather than fight over the nasty little place.

Absent international intervention, what we know would happen is that the Taliban would take over and we'd have "rich Taliban". Money wouldn't turn these people into secular freethinkers overnight, they'd just be rich peasants.

Re:That's Great But... (5, Insightful)

pmontra (738736) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562546)

Who do you think works for the corporations? Answer: The taxpayers.

My understanding is that US citizens must pay taxes in the USA even if they work abroad, but that's not the case for every other nationalities. So part of these salaries will go to the USA and part not.

Also, do you think mining is going to be a nonprofit organization? They'll pay taxes to the government.

Of which country? Corporations have proven to be very good at paying taxes where they cost them less money. Check this [bloomberg.com] for an example.

This is great news because this could help wipe out Afghanistan's poverty, the actual biggest obstacle to a functioning government.

That's exactly what happened everywhere oil or minerals have been discovered around the world. Middle East currently enjoys highest standard of living than the rest of the world thanks to half a century of massive oil extraction. Oh wait...

Mineral deposits almost never reduce poverty. (5, Informative)

adam (1231) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562724)

If you think mineral deposits "wipe out poverty" you ought to travel to west Africa.

The vast majority (99%+) of Sierra Loeneans who spend their lives in poverty, toiling to find diamonds, have never seen a finished and cut diamond. Many never even find a single diamond. Sierra Leone ranks amongst the five least developed countries.

A single gold mine in Mali will produce $1.5BN (USD) and has made a 0.07% reinvestment ($100k) in schools from its World Bank loan. The words of one worker, “[w]e read on the Internet that AngloGold has pronounced that Morila is the most profitable gold mine in the world, and yet most workers here get no lodging or training, or even health care. In South Africa, AngloGold is paying for the anti-retrovirals for its staff that are HIV-positive, and here they take all our medical costs out of our salaries.” Mine companies often pay only hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in lease fees.

Rutile is 95% titanium dioxide and Sierra Leone’s deposits of rutile may account for as much as 30% of the world’s supply, and the U.S. government lists it as a “strategic metal” to be stockpiled by the U.S. defense department. Sierra Leone is pock-marked by destroyed farmland and displaced communities, all in the name of rutile and diamond minining.

Another poster made an allusion to the mid-east, but Africa I think is a much better example as oil actually has been good for the average person in some mid-east countries, but these are fairly stable and developed countries. To look at natural resource reserves in unstable and undeveloped countries, versus stable, one only has to look at Oman and Yemen (both oil-rich and neighbors, one has GDP per capita 10x of the other). West Africa is a much better comparison to Afghanistan than Kuwait or the UAE (so if you want to make the mid-east comparison, skip Dubai and look at Yemen).

For a good read (and my source for much of the info above) I would recommend Joan Baxter's Dust from our Eyes.

That was the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562478)

This basically means we're staying in Afghanistan indefinitely.

Why else would we want to scare out the Taliban, for the people of Afghanistan? Please.

Re:That's Great But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562522)

The taxpayers and the government will never see any of that money.

Which taxpayers, and which government? US-American or Afghani?

Re:That's Great But... (3, Informative)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562526)

Mineral and resource rights don't need to be squandered or stolen in every case, two examples of countries which used their resources for the benefits of their citizens are Norway and Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan has been a persistent tribal hellhole basically forever, and I would hold out hope that the discovery of abundant natural resources will help give its citizens a sense of national identity, national pride, and a vastly improved quality of life, as well as an alternative to opium. Part of that process might be guidance from the western powers, however, since I have real doubts it can be achieved by the tribal leaders.

Re:That's Great But... (2, Insightful)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562534)

Unless products get cheaper because there are more resources, and thus market prices will naturally fall more easily. Try to think of indirect ramifications, and not immediate monetary gains.

Re:That's Great But... (4, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562570)

Obama has already promised that America will be out of Afghanistan by 2011. Didn't you get the memo? Surely he was briefed on this top-secret information before he made his decision. Looks like it's a good day to be Chinese - they certainly won't be bothered by our moral concerns.

Re:That's Great But... (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562578)

i've heard this tired argument time and time again, painting mining companies as the devil who sneaks in and steals the wealth and gives nothing back.

it's FUD. mining companies pump bulk cash into economies and employ 10,000's of people. if you want to know who the real villains are, take a look at where all the royalties go - government coffers. corrupt government are the problem not mining companies. companies are neither good nor evil, they just want to do business.

Re:That's Great But... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562754)

The big bad internationals are paying 50% "special tax" on oil profits plus 28% corporation tax. That is money paid by the multinationals to the Norwegian people for the rights to make money on the Norwegian resources.

"Norway: a haven for oil production" [norway.org.uk]

BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, and other major international oil companies are involved in oil and gas production in Norway.

This is model Afghanistan should look close at. A way to make sure that the major internationals earn enough to make it interesting, but also gives back to the people.

Australia is working on a similar model for their mining industry. The Norwegian experience shows that the major internationals are willing to invest and pay their taxes as long as the market is open and predictable.

Re:That's Great But... (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562606)

To say little of the Afghans who will now be exploited as slave labor-- er, indentured servants-- er, loyal employees.

The Price of being the sole superpower (5, Funny)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562626)

America will do what it does best, bring democracy and freedom to the world. Those American corps better get their bids sorted, the Chinese are good at undercutting everyone.

Re:The Price of being the sole superpower (-1, Flamebait)

jbssm (961115) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562696)

Please, name one country USA invaded since World War II, where American intervention brought democracy and freedom? In fact please, just name a country they invaded where the situation actually improved?

Re:That's Great But... (1)

amanicdroid (1822516) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562632)

I agree with you to some extent but it does no good to pout that the bullies are gonna steal it from the little guys. Be proactive about this. Start telling people to email their congressperson demanding that the Afghanis benefit from this as well. We should attempt to influence this process as much as possible so that Afghanistan doesn't turn into the next Nigeria or West Virginia. tl;dr Stop bitching and do something.

Re:That's Great But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562634)

Afghanistan, the Nigeria of the Middle East!

Good thing you can't spill minerals... :)

Re:That's Great But... (3, Interesting)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562638)

Even worse, in the end the only ones who will benefit are the corporations.

And those corporations employ people, people who need haircuts, food, transportation, cell phones, and other stuff, people who pay taxes, people who need to get educated, people who get salaries.

And while it might be nice for Afghanis if Afghanistan could become the Switzerland of Asia--you know, build nice hotels, make world-class chocolate, and handle large, shady monetary transactions anonymously--that's not in the cards. This may not be quite as good, but it still beats the Taliban and ... well, whatever economic basis Afghanistan had before.

Re:That's Great But... (0, Troll)

krischik (781389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562642)

Even worse, in the end the only ones who will benefit are USA corporations.

Fixed that for you. And congratualtions since this will be good news for most /. readers as they live in the USA. Another country to expoilt. Go for it.

Re:That's Great But... (1)

Bl4d3 (697638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562726)

It'll go to the place with the lowest corp. tax, I believe it is called "Transfer pricing".

So say hello to $2000 hammers and $10.000 toilet seats.

Re:That's Great But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562650)

This is old news (to some). It's why we are there in the first place... Freedom, Democracy, pah!

Re:That's Great But... (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562684)

Let's think about this. The US has been in Germany and Japan since 45. You thought they would be leaving Afghanistan any sooner?

Exactly NONE of it is leaving Asia (5, Interesting)

Hanzie (16075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562716)

Are you guys seriously thinking the US will get ANY of it? The Afghan gov't stopped caring about the US the day we announced we were leaving. The Afghan gov't has already been cutting it's deals with the Taliban. The US is exactly on the other side of the planet. Hell, we don't even have a friendly neighboring country to get the ore through. What do you think we'll do? FLY it to the US? The Chinese have this locked tight. If we tried to set up any sort of operation, Al-Queda would kill our people, if the Talibani didn't get to them first. The whole point under discussion is us taking the value away from the Afghanis. Can't happen. For anyone else, it's a cheap operation with cheap labor. For us it would be a military operation with expensive contractors getting killed every day. Cannot happen. The Chinese have this one in the bag.

Dammit! (-1, Troll)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562440)

I wondered where I left them. I'd left a Bic pen in my pocket, and it wore a hole and I lost all this stuff while out hiking...

But seriously, how long till the US decides it has to take another look at the Afghanistan situation, to, you know, protect freedom, stabilize the region, look for weapon stockpiles and all the other shit they come up with to exploit someone elses resource?

Re:Dammit! (4, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562492)

It's their resource, sure, except they could live on it for another thousand years, memorizing Koran and stoning women, and never even realize it's there. Hopefully it won't be like Saudi oil all over again. We discover it, we find use for it, we develop the technology and build the infrastructure, we extract it, we process it, we ship it, their leaders keep most of the money and use it to build gold palaces while keeping their population imprisoned in worst darkness and ignorance and then use that same oil to blackmail us.

Re:Dammit! (2, Interesting)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562496)

You don't have to occupy a country to benefit from its resources. We did a very good job mangling Latin American economies without maintaining an occupying force. We'll benefit by doing nothing; I'd imagine deposits that large would drive down the global price for those minerals.

Bigger problems are what the summary mentions: Lack of heavy industry and corruption. Corruption increases with the square of the distance from Kabul. Bureaucratic processes are intentionally long and complicated; bribes at each step are expected and practically required. The central government has little reach outside of the capitol and inability to effectively tax. This means incredibly low salaries for government employees, encouraging graft.

"Lack of heavy industry" is another reason even a hardcore realpolitik would avoid "taking another [military] look at the Afghanistan situation." This means they'll need our contractors to realize any return on their $trillion in mineral rights.

Re:Dammit! (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562644)

You don't have to occupy a country to benefit from its resources. We did a very good job mangling Latin American economies without maintaining an occupying force.

There's the secret occupation force.

No going home now! (1)

blunte (183182) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562442)

I guess that means the US won't be in any hurry to leave now.

Re:No going home now! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562542)

This isn't a troll, but I don't really think anyone outside of the USA actually expected the americans to leave anytime soon when they were about to invade.

CNN said this could make it the saudi arabia (2, Interesting)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562446)

...of minerals

Sounds likewe won't be able to become independent of these nations after all, even of we abandon oil.

Re:CNN said this could make it the saudi arabia (3, Insightful)

kevinbr (689680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562486)

Saudi Arabia is poor, because the downstream value of the oil is lost. The sales values goes to the corrupt ruling family, the ordinary Saudi lives in poverty.

It will be the same in Afghanistan. The raw material will be ripped out at the lowest cost (lowest cost meaning maximum pollution) and the real wealth of downstream value add will take place out of Afghanistan.

Just like the raw opium.

Re:CNN said this could make it the saudi arabia (5, Informative)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562548)

Saudi Arabia is not poor, and by that I mean the people are not poor. The government spreads the oil money around a fair bit. They import people to be poor, er, I mean to do the work the Saudis don't want to.

Re:CNN said this could make it the saudi arabia (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562568)

They import people to be poor, er, I mean to do the work the Saudis don't want to.

Well, not that much different from US, Canada, Europe and some other so-called developed places, right?

Re:CNN said this could make it the saudi arabia (1)

kevinbr (689680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562656)

Have you ever been to Saudi Arabia?

The GDP per capita is 20K USD. But ...... that does not imply the wealth gets spread very evenly.

Yeah the work the Saudi's don't want to do, as if a benign oil corporation and a corrupt government would rather pay high wages to locals or import Filipinos and Indians to live in work camps and work like slaves.

Re:CNN said this could make it the saudi arabia (3, Informative)

kevinbr (689680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562720)

".....The sharing of family wealth has been a critical component in maintaining the semblance of a united front within the royal family. An essential part of family wealth is the Kingdom in its physical entirety, which the Al Saud view as a totally owned family asset. Whether through the co-mingling of personal & state funds from lucrative government positions, huge land allocations, direct allotments of crude oil to sell in the open market, segmental controls in the economy, special preferences for the award of major contracts, outright cash handouts, and astronomical monthly allowances, - all billed to the national exchequer - all told, the financial impact may have exceeded 40% of the Kingdom's annual budget during the reign of King Fahd. Over decades of oil revenue-generated expansion, estimates of royal receipts have varied, ranging as low as an unlikely $50 billion and as high as well over $1 trillion. [5]. This method of wealth distribution has allowed many of the senior princes & princesses to accumulate largely unauditable wealth and, in turn, pay out, in cash or kind, to lesser royals and commoners, and thereby gaining political influence through their own largesse.
During periods of high oil prices as were the late 70s, early 80s, and again, immediately after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, national income has outpaced the developmental needs & social obligations of the Saudi government and the effects of royal skimming were diminished. From the mid 80s through the 90s, when international crude oil prices dropped to the teens and below, the subsequent shortfall in income, and the availability of surprisingly limited financial reserves (when compared to such countries as Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates which continued to grow during crude price droughts because of dividends generated from years of prudent investments.)[6]. According to well-publicized but unsubstantiated reports, King Abdullah has intentions to reduce the Al Saud share of the budget, an act which may sow discontent within the royal family, but would be popular with the Kingdom's citizenry."

Fact is no one knows really how much the Royal family keep and how much gets shared.

Saudi Arabia has the wealth to never export oil but to process it all on shore. INstead that potential excess to invest in expensive downstream processing goes in to the royal family.

Afghanistan will be the same.

Have a read of :

http://www.amazon.com/Plowing-Sea-Nurturing-Sources-Developing/dp/0875847617 [amazon.com]

Re:CNN said this could make it the saudi arabia (1)

jbssm (961115) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562698)

They import people to be poor, er, I mean to do the work the Saudis don't want to.

What, they also get free Mexicans like USA does?

And if you (4, Insightful)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562448)

think China and Russia are just going to sit on the side lines and let the USA get first pick on the mineral resources they better go put their flack jackets back on.

Re:And if you (4, Informative)

kevinbr (689680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562470)

Don't forget China shares a border with Afghanistan

Re:And if you (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562518)

Yes and china wants to encourage a super rich bunch of islamic nutters rights on its doorstep!

Look to expect the chinese to come in to help mine, or defend the taliban against those nasty western imperialists as long as they get access to the minerals.

Either way with trillions to be made, somehow I think the taliban are going to start getting ratted out soon enough as normal ahgans realise these nutters are going to help keep everyone poor!

Re:And if you (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562622)

As does Iran and Pakistan - and Russia is pretty close as well. Yes, there are plenty of powerful countries bordering Afghanistan, who would love to get their hands on that oil ... er ... gold, lithium, cobalt, iron and copper. Indeed, the geographical position of Afghanistan alone makes it a desirable place to control. Now, with the mineral riches as well, I expect that the last 30 years of permanent war in Afghanistan will be followed by 30 years more.

Re:And if you (1, Insightful)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562658)

Don't forget China shares a border with Afghanistan

And owns the mortgage on the USA.

Re:And if you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562738)

And is thinking about putting a railway through there (china to europe avoiding russia) - new silk road ahoy! (actually through the south of the country not the border bit IIRC).

Re:And if you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562628)

Isn't Afghanistan supposed to pick its own mineral resources ITSELF?

Poor country... first the Soviet invasion, then the Taliban rule, then the war on terror, and now the minerals...

Already in work: (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562668)

The Russians already knew at least part of it. They were the ones that did the initial surveys back in the 80s. The US geologists began to realize the potential when they saw those reports that Afghan geologists had hidden from the Taliban in the intervening years.

The Chinese are already involved in mining copper, albeit on a limited scale, in Afghanistan.

This can be a very mixed blessing. If it's handled well, and reinvested in the people and country, it's great. If it just adds to the corruption and infighting it won't be.

They're fucked now. (4, Insightful)

alister (60389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562454)

Right. They're fucked. Their best hope was that all the dopes would get bored and get out. Now there's not a chance in hell of that happening.

Re:They're fucked now. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562472)

Yep the Taliban were looking forw2ard to that so they could get back to shooting women for wanting to learn to read! :S

How are you enjoying your nice safe liberal armchair?

Re:They're fucked now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562500)

If you could have held back that last sentence, you might not have been rated flamebait...

Re:They're fucked now. (3, Insightful)

mike260 (224212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562520)

More to the point, they no longer have any chance at becoming a healthy democracy now that the incentives for corruption are so huge.

Re:They're fucked now. (1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562616)

nah, after years of working in the resource industry i can offer you one insight - geologist are usually useless twits. show me a room of 100 geo's and there will be maybe 2 or 3 with a clue, and the rest just took the course because they couldn't pass anything else.

most of what they have "found" is probably uneconomical to mine and the nytimes is too dumb to read the fine print of the report.

Re:They're fucked now. (4, Insightful)

gsslay (807818) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562618)

Yup. Pretty much.

For a country and its people to benefit from that kind or resource they need a good government and structurally sound society right from the start. Otherwise the big corporations and foreign governments are going pitch up in the vacuum and carve up the riches for themselves.

What the Afghans need more than anything is for everyone else to butt out and leave them alone.

Re:They're fucked now. (1)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562708)

Their best hope was that all the dopes would get bored and get out.

Best hope for what? Be governed by fundamentalist, corrupt, mysogynist tribal madmen? Live under a communist regime?

hmm (2, Insightful)

sifRAWR (1544341) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562456)

Conspiracy theorists will be eating this one up..

Re:hmm (4, Informative)

jgardia (985157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562524)

From the article:

"In 2004, American geologists, sent to Afghanistan as part of a broader reconstruction effort, stumbled across an intriguing series of old charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul that hinted at major mineral deposits in the country. They soon learned that the data had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, but cast aside when the Soviets withdrew in 1989."

I think today I'm with the conspiracy theorists...

Handy (3, Interesting)

pev (2186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562468)

Well, isn't it lucky that the USA has invaded already - it saves them having to invent a thin pretext to invade later! Of course, the conspiracy theorists will probably be saying that this was all already known and was the pretext for the invasion but didn't make it public knowledge until now so that people wouldn't make a mental link between the resources and the invasion....

Re:Handy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562530)

I don't think $1T in minerals is enough to justify an invasion and war alone, especially one that cost a significant fraction of that value, particularly if you look at the true cost of the conflict.

Re:Handy (1)

pev (2186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562564)

Interesting - I did mention that would appeal to the *conspiracy* theorists who dont generally think quite so rationally ;-) Having said that, even if it WAS a plan and they spent a large proportion e.g. 50% on the war, 500 Billion USD would STILL go a long way towards the defecit...!

Re:Handy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562600)

As for whether this was known prior, or not, it is likely to be known, as the US has had previous involvement in Afghanistan re: dam building, which would have involved geological surveys, as well as discovering what is inside the mountains when drilling tunnels etc.

Re:Handy (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562582)

Well, if all you value is money... Then I guess you're right.

Re:Handy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562666)

Don't think that the money spent on wars is lost. It goes to those close to politicians who start wars. The war industry benefits hugely from any war.

Plus wars are invaluable to politicians. There's nothing better to rally a population than a war and good old military-based patriotism. No matter how bad you screw up, throw around a few patriotic phrases how "our boys" are defending "freedom" "for us" to satisfy the masses.

Re:Handy (2, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562766)

I don't think $1T in minerals is enough to justify an invasion and war alone, especially one that cost a significant fraction of that value, particularly if you look at the true cost of the conflict.

Of course it is. You see, you are assuming the same people profiting from the enterprise are the same ones footing the bill. The one's profiting will buddies of Bush and Cheney. Execs of Haliburton, etc, etc. The one's left holding the bill are the American citizens.

Re:Handy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562538)

Now they'll be searching for Osama and Al Qaeda for a few more decades, that's for sure

Re:Handy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562566)

OTOH, if discovery of these deposits were found as a direct result of US occupation, and Afghanistan sees resulting prosperity, the US's invasion could well be argued as benefiting the greater good... in half a century's time. For now, I think we can all accept that reasoning as bullshit. But historical opinion is always colored by affairs more recent, and so this assessment could eventually gain acceptance.

Re:Handy (2, Interesting)

krischik (781389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562734)

argued as benefiting the greater good... in half a century's time.

Or the very opposite. As a German some of those History-Channel post WWII reports make me puke. All those niceties the USA did to us after there war where not that nice at all. Instead the USA fixed our elections, brain washed us with pro-capitalistic propaganda (designed by CIA specialists), made us have an army again (which we did not want at the time) and ignored a chance for re-unification because the USA did not want us to be neutral.

Martin

Re:Handy (3, Funny)

raxhonp (136733) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562590)

Definitively, only conspiracy theorists could believe it was already known and the pretext for the invasion. Personally, I have always supported the war for freedom the U.S. is ready to sacrifice so much for in Afghanistan. The same when it was for saving the world from weapons of mass destruction by having to invade Iraq. Only conspiracy theorists could come up with the option that it was only a way to put oil resources between American hands. Crazy.

Re:Handy (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562640)

Indeed, the war/invasion has already cost $1 trillion.

Re:Handy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562730)

Its obvious - new mineral deposits will only be found in (relatively) unexplored areas such as the Afghanistan outback, the Russian outback (yes you are next in line for regime change, you pesky russkies) and places like Tiibet (darn chinks got there first)

Haliburton to the rescue! (3, Funny)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562474)

I'm sure the fair and honest Haliburton people will find a way to mine it exclusively and give the locals a fair share.

Re:Haliburton to the rescue! (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562670)

Give the locals a fair share of the toxic waste.

Great! Maybe now we can make our money back. (2, Insightful)

virb67 (1771270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562480)

Great! Maybe now we can make our money back. What's the going rate for a dead soldier again?

Re:Great! Maybe now we can make our money back. (3, Insightful)

mike260 (224212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562636)

What's the going rate for a dead soldier again?

I'd guess its' the cost of recruiting and training his replacement, plus death benefits. I'm sure that death is responsible for only a very small fraction of personnel turnover, so the replacement cost is probably a drop in the bucket. That leaves death benefits which appear to be $100k per KIA.

So if the US got their hands on, say, 10% of the estimated $1 trillion, that could pay for around 1 million dead soldiers. Now obviously the cost of recruiting replacements would skyrocket before the death-toll got anywhere near 1 million, but you can get around that with a draft.

Hang on, were you being rhetorical?

Re:Great! Maybe now we can make our money back. (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562688)

Why should you?

You've laid waste to their country, now you're going to take everything valuable as well? That's some liberation indeed.

Ok, here we go. (1)

jevring (618916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562484)

Clearly this new discovery gives anyone who already had any kind of interest in Afghanistan a reason to launch a full-blown invasion. Anyone want to guess how long it takes the US to conjure up some retrofitted justification for a full-on invasion of Afghanistan?

Why? (2, Interesting)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562490)

So exactly why did the Pentagon spend my tax dollars to find mineral riches for a corrupt and hostile foreign country? And why did we tell them about it before an honest and American friendly government (if the even is such a thing) was in place?

Re:Why? (1)

mogness (1697042) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562562)

Just a guess, but I'm pretty sure they didn't go through all the trouble to find this stuff just to hand it over. Obviously there will be perks for the U.S. govt as well.

Beter later than never. (5, Informative)

ThePangolino (1756190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562506)

China was on it since 2008. At least. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3941656.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
The Economist had an interesting story about it something like one year ago. I couldn't find it unfortunately.

Confirmed. I heard about it several months ago (3, Interesting)

Hanzie (16075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562576)

Yeah, I know a guy who has been there on business a few times. He mentioned a 'mountain that was basically solid copper'. The Chineese bought it and are running a new set of railroad tracks directly back to china. As this is in China's back yard, it takes a lot of pressure off the demand side of our markets. Prices will fall on these minerals, or at least not rise so fast. The 'I hate American capitalist pig-dogs' brigade can rest easy. There is no way on earth to get Americans to be miners in Afghanistan price competitively with Chinese slave labor.

Ahhhh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562544)

So the US gov't invaded Afghanistan not for oil, but for minerals.

So the war was for democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562552)

Lets liberate those oppressed minerals from the hands of the despicable Talibans!

Sad comments (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562556)

It appears that nobody is interested whatsoever in what will happen to Afghanistan - the only posts here so far are people projecting their fears and prejudices on this new phenomenon. Let me get in the mood - looks like Halliburton is going to have to fire up their earthquake machine again!

Half the people here could use more lithium (4, Funny)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562572)

If my suspicions are correct...

Money? (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562580)

What's that, there's a load of money in their rocks? RUN!!

Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, ??? (2, Insightful)

dragisha (788) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562586)

As you can see in http://kosovo99.tripod.com/minerals.htm [tripod.com] and Saudi Arabia and Iraq before, US has good history of coming to right places in right times...

Also, Somaila's got some rich Uranium reserves... And I am 100% percent sure every big "human rights" hotspot od last century, and "terrorism" hotspot of 21st is "minerally supported".

Hopely, Japanese touchdown on asteroid will change things so we will have less wars in future, and more riches coming from space.

Re:Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, ??? (1)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562706)

Also, Somaila's got some rich Uranium reserves... And I am 100% percent sure every big "human rights" hotspot od last century, and "terrorism" hotspot of 21st is "minerally supported".

Even if that is the case... the problem with that would be what? People need to build an economy after a war, and it's not like these places have much in the way of agriculture or highly educated population; mining is one of the few options. And most spots on earth that haven't been sucked dry by Europeans yet do have some mineral resources. A trillion dollars in lithium is not that much; that's less than the war will end up costing.

Re:Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, ??? (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562732)

Hopely, Japanese touchdown on asteroid will change things so we will have less wars in future, and more riches coming from space.

That's what the dinosaurs thought, but a miscalculation brought down the asteroid a little too quickly.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Timtimes (730036) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562598)

NASA probably scoped out these deposits from space years ago. The reason for the wealth of deposits is that they are the deep water drilling equivalents of mining. No infrastructure, remote mountainous location, hostile citizenry and ongoing war and turmoil. On land we don't own. Enjoy.

Wow, that allmost covers.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562630)

..... the damage caused by illegal downloading using limewire http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/06/08/159217/RIAA-Says-LimeWire-Owes-15-Trillion?art_pos=2 !

Folks, do not fall for this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32562652)

The show is run by psychopath folks. They are really, really good at doing con jobs.
This is probably for domestic consumption. Now that,more than ever, people are realizing all these wars are making all us (tax payers) poor, "they found all this bounty".
They lie to get into this war, they lie all the way until today and they will keep on lying to keep popular support on another illegal, criminal war.
It is a big, fat con job. Propaganda, disinformation, misinformation to make us believe another fairy tale.
Is time to form independent groups to verify absolutely everything that the government says and does. They claim to work for us, the people, but the don't.

That basically means... (1)

eexaa (1252378) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562662)

...that afghanistan converts to another well-behaved american colony in a month or less.

Now the USA army will never leave there. (0, Flamebait)

jbssm (961115) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562672)

Ok, it's official, the G.I. Joes are staying there forever. All paid by the Americans taxpayers in benefit of the American corporations and in detriment of Afghan people.

Occupation not their worst problem now (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562682)

My bigger fear is that now they're going to be like one of those tragic African nations that has tremendous mineral or oil riches. These seem to produce dictatorships where 0.5% of the population is tremendously rich and powerful, and the other 99.5% are left penniless.

Re:Occupation not their worst problem now (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562760)

In the United States at the end of 2001, 10% of the population owned 71% of the wealth and the top 1% owned 38%. On the other hand, the bottom 40% owned less than 1% of the nation's wealth.

Uh, dictatorships where?

Why do American minerals... (3, Insightful)

paai (162289) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562710)

Why do American minerals always end up in the soil of other countries?

paai

Invade! (4, Funny)

hedleyroos (817147) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562746)

Oh, wait...

Gold.. (2, Interesting)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562758)

So are we going to get to see the price of gold plummet again like it did in the 90's? Could be very interesting times for everyone who bought into the Goldline / Beck fiasco.

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