Taliban Now Has Control Over 74 Lakh Crores Worth Of Untouched Minerals Including Lithium

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Vivek Patil

Pune, 24 August 2021: With the war-torn economy and as the democratic establishments are gravely severed in the new Taliban rule in Afghanistan, the fundamentalist group has already declared that Afghanistan will be ruled by the supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada.


Taliban now sits on a fat reserve of rich minerals like Iron ore, bauxite, copper, and other rare earth minerals including Lithium, according to the US Geological Survey(USGS). These resources have been estimated to be worth more than 74 lakh crore rupees; enough to make them a future trillion-dollar economy.


Why may lithium be one of the most important commodities in the 21st century?


Lithium is a very vital metal that is used in the manufacturing of rechargeable batteries for almost all electronic machines including electric cars, and the Taliban has plenty of lithium deposits that sit in dried-up lake beds in the western province of Herat and Nimroz and the central-east Province of Ghazni.

Source- Google maps

The world demand for lithium is expected to grow by over 40 times by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency.

Global projection of total lithium demand 2016-2030, source- Statista.

With plenty of reserves untapped, enough to satisfy the current demand for lithium, Afghanistan lacks the infrastructure for mining. But immediately after the Taliban seized power and took control over Kabul, one country was quick to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Taliban and is very keen to do business with them; china. China already controls the majority of the supply of lithium deposits and is the largest manufacturer of electronics.

China has said it is ready to have “friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan“, soon after.

Will it be the classic ‘resource curse’ for Taliban Afghanistan or will they be the new ‘emirates’ of South Asia?

Taliban which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) may have inherited a lot of natural and rare earth minerals but so did Nigeria with oil, so did the republic of congo with diamonds and so did Venezuela with natural gas. A resource curse is when a country underperforms socially and economically despite having a troupe of natural resources.

With the new Autocratic rule established in Afghanistan with no signs of a well-defined constitutional government, it is very likely that Afghanistan may just be another country with a tag of the paradox of plenty.


(Vivek Patil is a trainee journalist with Punekar News)