Deep beneath the ground in one of the world’s poorest counties sits at least $1 Trillion of untapped minerals resource, according to a report published by Afghanistan’s Minister of Mines and Petrolium [PDF]. The South Asian Country of 38 million People is estimated to hold more than 2.2 billion tonnes of iron ore, 1.3 billion tonnes of marble and 1.4 million tonnes of rare earth minerals.
According to Scott Montgomery, a geologist who has studied the extent of Afghanistan’s resources, the country requires a minimum of seven to 10 years to develop large-scale mining to become a major source of revenue. Poor security, weak legislation and corruption have prevented the development of the mining sector.
Afghanistan is estimated to hold more than 2.2 Billion Tones of iron ore, 1.3 Billion tonnes of marble, and 1.4 Million tones of rare earth Minerals.
Iron is the most abundant of Afghanistan’s valuable metals. The Total iron ore reserve is estimated to be 2.2 billion metric tonnes, placing Afghanistan among the top 10 countries in extractable iron.
Afghanistan is the eight most mountainous country in the world making many parts difficult to access. Marble is versatile rock commonly used in architecture and sculpture. The Country yields an impressive 1.3 billion tonnes of the Beautiful building stone.
Afghanistan is estimated to have at least 500 million tonnes of limestone found mainly in the provinces of Badakhshan, Herat, and Baghlan.
Afghanistan has an estimated 1.4 million tonnes of rare earth minerals including lithium (used in batteries), uranium (used for nuclear fuel) and many others. One of the largest deposits of rare earth minerals can be found at Khanneshin in Helmand province.
The country also has an estimated 152 million tonnes of braite, a colourless mineral commonly used by the oil and Gas industry in drilling.