Mineral deposits can create jobs, industry, wealth and potentially pollution. It could help stabilize a war torn country such as Afghanistan. Working with the Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), members of the USGS Minerals Project assessed fuel- and non-fuel mineral resources of Afghanistan from October 2009 to September 2011 with the goal of identifying particular deposits that could be relatively easily developed.The team identified key Areas of Interest (AOI)—and subareas within them—that fit these criteria. The AOIs contain mineral reserves or resources that have been well-documented through sampling in trenches, drill holes, and/or underground workings. Most are accessible by existing roads. So to develop or not to develop.
There are vast amounts of minerals present in the country. There are hazards ranging from earthquakes, general aridity (scare water supplies), and of course, war. Copper, Chromium, Coal, and gold are just some of the potential deposits.
One of the products of the study efforts was the 2007 Preliminary Assessment of Non-Fuel Mineral Resources of Afghanistan. The assessment revealed that Afghanistan has abundant non-fuel mineral resources, including both known and potential deposits of a wide variety of minerals ranging from copper, iron, and sulfur to bauxite, lithium, and rare-earth elements.
The problem lies in the development. As had been seen in neighboring China, India and Iran, it is easy to quickly exploit and easily pollute. Excavating and processing the mineral wealth out of the ground is risky and dangerous though the benefits to the Afghan people and the world can be immense.
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