Tuesday 17th of July 2018

no profit tax, just some kickbacks...

minerals

from crooksandliars.com

WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

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, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and Blackberries.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

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Sounds like a wonderful surprise, right? Well, here's something that adds more perspective:

Read a little more carefully, though, and you realize that there's less to this scoop than meets the eye. For one thing, the findings on which the story was based are online and have been since 2007, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey. More information is available on the Afghan mining ministry's website, including a report by the British Geological Survey (and there's more here). You can also take a look at the USGS's documentation of the airborne part of the survey here, including the full set of aerial photographs.

Nowhere have I found that $1 trillion figure mentioned, which Risen suggests was generated by a Pentagon task force seeking to help the Afghan government develop its resources (looking at thechart accompanying the article, though, it appears to be a straightforward tabulation of the total reserve figures for each mineral times current the current market price). According to Risen, that task force has begun prepping the mining ministry to start soliciting bids for mineral rights in the fall.

Don't get me wrong. This could be a great thing for Afghanistan, which certainly deserves a lucky break after the hell it's been through over the last three decades.

But I'm (a) skeptical of that $1 trillion figure; (b) skeptical of the timing of this story, given the bad news cycle, and (c) skeptical that Afghanistan can really figure out a way to develop these resources in a useful way. It's also worth noting, as Risen does, that it will take years to get any of this stuff out of the ground, not to mention enormous capital investment.

Moreover, before we get too excited about lithium and rare-earth metals and all that, Afghanistan could probably use some help with a much simpler resource: cement.

According to an article in the journal Industrial Minerals, "Afghanistan has the lowest cement production in the world at 2kg per capita; in neighbouring Pakistan it is 92kg per capita and in the UK it is 200kg per capita." Afghanistan's cement plants were built by a Czech company in the 1950s, and nobody's invested in them since the 1970s. Most of Afghanistan's cement is imported today, mainly from Pakistan and Iran. Apparently the mining ministry has been working to set upfour new plants, but they are only expected to meet about half the country's cement needs.

Why do I mention this? One of the smartest uses of development resources is also one of the simplest: building concrete floors. Last year, a team of Berkeley researchers found that "replacing dirt floors with cement appears to be at least as effective for health as nutritional supplements and as helpful for brain development as early childhood development programs." And guess what concrete's made of? Hint: it's not lithium.

http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/vast-stores-minerals-found-afghanista

ali babababacksheesh...

Is the tide of fortune about to turn for miserable, war-torn Afghanistan? American geologists say they have discovered that the country is sitting on mineral deposits worth $1 trillion - enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and change the course of history.

The deposits include iron, copper, cobalt, gold and lithium, a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and mobile phones. The deposits are so big that the country could become one of the most important mining centres in the world. A Pentagon memo says Afghanistan could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium".


Read more: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/64501,news-comment,news-politics,minerals-worth-1-trillion-discovered-in-afghanistan-pentagon-taliban#ixzz0qvMcR1UV
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Gus: let's not forget that this has be "rediscovered" mineral wealth... The mineral wealth of that country was quite well-known in the 1970s... And at the rate things are going, the price on the little poppies might be more profitable for the locals rather than having multinationals plunder the buried loot and handing out backsheesh worth three and a half goats...

More Blood Money in Afghan War...

from Chris Floyd

Trillion-Dollar Bash: Mineral Find Means More Blood Money in Afghan War
Written by Chris Floyd      

The New York Times reports on the discovery by American geologists that Afghanistan contains "vast riches" in untapped mineral deposits: at least $1 trillion worth -- including huge troves of lithium, "a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys," as the paper breathlessly relates.

Unfortunately, given the realities of our world, one's first reaction to such news is not a cheery "How nice for the Afghan people!" but rather a heart-sinking, dread-clammy "Uh oh." For what this discovery almost certainly portends are many more decades of war, warlordism and foreign intervention, as the forces of greed and power fight like hyenas to tear off the juiciest chunks of this windfall.

It also guarantees many more years of American military occupation (in one guise or another); there is absolutely no chance that our Beltway banditti (and their corporate cronies) are simply going to walk away from a stash like this, not when they've already got "boots on the ground" -- and billions of dollars in war pork invested in the place. It's payback time, baby! (Or rather, double-dip time, as most these "investments" are just pass-throughs of public money to private profiteers). And hey, finder's keepers and all that, right?

The Times story is the usual splattered mess of regurgitated Pentagon PR and imperial spin, with a few small bits of pertinent information here and there.

The story first displays its "savvy" cred by noting the possible downsides of the find. ("Hey, we're not just cheerleaders, you know!") It could make the Taliban fight even harder. It could exacerbate the corruption of the American-installed Afghan government. It could set off conflicts between Afghan tribes and warlord factions to control the mining. It could wreak environmental ruin. And it seems it could tempt grasping greedy foreigners to prey upon the war-ravaged Afghans and steal their wealth:

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see toon at top...

inadvertention...

Occupational Hazards: Praise the Warlord and Pass the Ammunition
Written by Chris Floyd      

High comedy from the Gray Lady:


American taxpayers have inadvertently created a network of warlords across Afghanistan who are making millions of dollars escorting NATO convoys and operating outside the control of either the Afghan government or the American and NATO militaries, according to the results of a Congressional investigation released Monday.

"Inadvertently!" Really, what yocks!

Coincidentally, I am currently reading a new edition of Norman Stone's 1964 book, The Honoured Society, dealing with the great "surge" of Mafia power in Sicily in the post-WWII years. Stone, who was in Sicily at the time, tells an interesting story of how the American military government "inadvertently" restored the Mafia to feudal lordship over Sicily by "inadvertently" placing Mafia leaders and their associates in charge of towns and villages all over Sicily, "inadvertently" giving them carte blanche to create a vast black market, "inadvertently" allowing them to crush any movement toward land reform or unionized labor, and "inadvertently" putting the political process in their stranglehold, laying the foundation for generations of violence, terror, corruption, suffering and deprivation for ordinary people.

As Stone notes:


Don Caló received the loyalist cooperation in these [black market] manoeuvres from his friends in AMGOT [Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories], who supplied the passes necessary for his caravan of trucks to travel without impediment up and down the roads of Sicily. At about that time, AMGOT in Sicily had fallen under the sway of its unofficial adviser, Vito Genovese, an American gangster -- later named as head of the Mafia offshoot, Cosa Nostra -- who had disappeared after his indictment on a charge of murder and turned up in Italy. Don Caló found Genovese most accommodating. From AMGOT came all the petrol he required, and sometimes, when he was short of transport for an exceptionally large shipment, his friends helped out with a military vehicle or two.

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Gus: dig baby dig... Pass the moral mustard and see toon at top.

 

 

mining BOOM...

Afghanistan wants more Australian help - not from the military, but from Australian mining companies - to kick-start a post-war economy with a mining boom.

"So far I have not got in touch with any of the major Australian investors - Australian companies like Rio Tinto, BHP and the others - but I'm going to Melbourne to see if there is a possibility of getting those major companies interested," Afghanistan's ambassador to Australia, Nasir Andisha, said.

Afghanistan, like Australia, is rich in natural resources - iron ore, copper, gold, lithium, coal, uranium, oil and gas.

So far Chinese and Indian companies have been given the frontrunning in exploiting these resources.

The last mining boom in Afghanistan was over 2,000 years ago in the era of Alexander the Great, when gold, silver and precious stones were routinely mined.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-18/afghanistan-seeking-help-to-kick-start-mining-boom/3736878

 

SEE TOON AND STORY AT TOP...