Afghanistan Opens Bids to Western Investors for Mineral Deposits

The Pentagon is facilitating contracts for one of the most corrupt governments in the world to exploit natural resources

Afghanistan opened bids on Tuesday to foreign investors to mine the country’s copper and gold deposits in four different areas as part of a new initiative to raise government revenue.

Geologists have known about Afghanistan’s “vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized minerals, including rare earth minerals used in cell phones, hybrid car batteries, defense industries and wind turbines,” according to the Associated Press.

Estimates of the potential worth of these natural resources range from hundreds of billions of dollars to $3 trillion. The Afghan government, in anticipation of a gradual decline in U.S. aid, plans to sell the rights for up to five mines every year until 2014.

With improved security and better transportation systems in Afghanistan, more foreign investments could begin to pile up. For now, the Pentagon is facilitating Western investors to put up tens of millions of dollars.

But the Afghan government is one of the most corrupt on the planet, and have shown reckless disregard for property rights and the type of trade policies that would set it on the path of reconstruction after 30 years of war. With the Pentagon securing rent-seeking corporate investments to the Afghan Ministry of Mines for revenue that is highly likely to be utilized for corrupt purposes within the government, constructive prosperity is quite a ways off.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.