“The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world”.-Wikipedia
Only problem is that China beat us to the mining deals. Funny how you don’t hear Trump talking about sending US miners over there…
It’s a tough nut to crack. I know someone who surveyed the area for the Obama administration and the road blocks to getting at the minerals were to be many as you have noted. You’d think that building a railroad could be covered inside a $3 Billion deal.
Afghanistan has enormous wealth in minerals and will be a prize for anybody who can figure how to get it out.
The weird thing is, Uncle Duke would probably a better choice than anybody the current US administration could possibly come up with.
He is a crook, but actually has moral and ethical standards. True, his standards are mainly based on wanting to be able to do business repeatedly with whoever he makes a deal with.
But when push comes to shove, I’d take that over anything someone like Trump, Pence or Sessions have to offer (to name but three) on any day.
I get the impression that the optimists RE: Afghanistan’s minerals are generally basing their projections either on “first someone else pacifies the place at no cost to us, for, um, reasons” or “If it weren’t for the pesky rules; we could run the place like the Belgian Congo and turn the security problem into expendable labor!”
I’m assuming that our fine fellow here is among the latter theorists.
That’s definitely a problem; and quite possibly an uneconomic one for the lower value ores; but I would be quite surprised if it is the bigger problem. Building rail lines through some fairly unpleasant terrain was a pretty solidly solved problem by sometime in the 19th century, if not earlier, particularly if you don’t have to worry too much about worker mortality.(Indeed, it’s a problem that was actually solved more in the past than it is today in quite a few locations; mostly former colonies that used to have colonial overlords who realized that efficient exploitation required decent infrastructure.)
Pacifying Afghanistan hard enough to allow for construction to proceed, or keep the operations from being raided all the time is…much less solved…