Afghanistan’s minerals are mouth-watering and China may be first in line

The country, rich in lithium, holds huge economic and strategic value as long as the Taliban plays its cards right

25 August 2021 - 18:28 By Iain Marlow and Enda Curran

When the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the global economy looked a lot different: Tesla wasn’t a company, the iPhone didn’t exist and artificial intelligence was best known as a Steven Spielberg film.

Now all three are at the cutting edge of a modern economy driven by advancements in hi-tech chips and large-capacity batteries that are made with a range of minerals, including rare earths. And Afghanistan is sitting on deposits estimated to be worth $1-trillion or more, including what may be the world’s largest lithium reserves – if anyone can get them out of the ground...

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