According to the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, China-based Gochin Company company seeks to invest US$10 billion in Afghanistan’s lithium mining sector.
According to the Ministry’s press release, the Chinese company suggested that if it is awarded the lithium mining contract, the company will invest in several significant Afghan infrastructure projects, including tunnels, a power dam, and highways.
Acting minister for Mine and Petroleum, Shahabuddin Delawar, said that the investment would create 120,000 direct and a million indirect jobs in the country.
Geologists have long thought that Afghanistan could have massive, untapped stores of critical minerals—ranging from trillions of dollars.
Before the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August 2021, the USGS and the Department of Defense spent years and hundred of millions of dollars working to identify and confirm mineral resources in 24 areas of interest (AOIs) in the country.
Location of the Daykundi tin, tungsten, and lithium area of interest in central Afghanistan as one example. Source: USGS
In September 2011, USGS announced the results in the report, “Summaries of Important Areas for Mineral Investment and Production Opportunities of Nonfuel Minerals in Afghanistan.” Highlights of that report include an estimated 1 million metric tons of rare earth elements in the Khanneshin carbonatite area in Helmand Province. Among the other areas described: substantial copper and cobalt deposits near Kabul, iron-rich areas in central Afghanistan, copper and gold deposits in the southeast, and tin, tungsten and lithium areas in central Afghanistan.