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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 2, 2010

KARZAI SAYS U.S. REPORT FINDS AFGHANISTAN SITTING ON A TRILLION DOLLARS IN OIL AND MINERAL RESERVES

Agence France Presse - Afghanistan, one of the world's poorest countries, is sitting on mineral and petroleum reserves worth an estimated one trillion dollars, President Hamid Karzai said Sunday.

"The initial figures we have obtained show that our mineral deposits are worth a thousand billion dollars -- not a thousand million dollars but a thousand billion," he said.

He based his assertion, he said, on a survey being carried out by the United States Geological Survey, due to be completed in "a couple of months".

The USGS, the US government's scientific agency, has been working on the 17-million dollar survey for a number of years, Karzai said.

While Afghanistan is not renowned as a resource-rich country, it has a wide range of deposits, including copper, iron ore, gold and chromite, as well as natural gas, oil and precious and semi-precious stones.

Little has been exploited because the country has been mired in conflict for 30 years, and is embroiled in a vicious insurgency by Islamist rebels led by the Taliban. . .

China and India have bid for contracts to develop mines, with the Chinese winning a copper contract. An iron ore contract is due to be awarded later this year.

In 2007, China's state-owned metals giant Metallurgical Group Corporation signed a three-billion-dollar contract to develop the Aynak copper mine -- one of the world's biggest -- over the next 30 years.


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