Sunday, September 05, 2021

Has Biden's Afghan Surrender Handed The Future To China

Along with the fall of Kabul into the hands of the Taliban is the lingering question of what will happen to Afghanistan's massive rare earths industry that remains largely untapped. Photo: AFP / -


From watching TV News and reading online newspapers it certainly seems Our New Unhappy Lords have decided the developed world is going battery powered,  - readers might have expected the phrase  'going green,' though there is ample evidence that the technologies being pushed by the dark forces of globalism are anything but green, in fact they are even more environmentally damaging that the technologies they aim to replace. Apart from the myth of 'clean' technologies,  it appears the cost to the consumer is not a consideration either. The world leaders attending the G7 meeting in Cornwall this June agreed to redouble their commitments to reducing CO2 emissions as rapidly as possible but did not give any thought to the far more damaging toxic shite the manufacturing processes, including mineral extraction and refining, involved in the 'clean', sustainable technologies will dump into the environment. Neither did they consider the problems of sourcing those rare, essential items without which gadgets ranging from smartphones to electronic vehicles cannot function. 

For example, the United Kingdom promised there will be no more sales of new cars that use petrol or diesel after 2030. Renewable energy and electric cars are the future, and that future is almost upon us Boris Johnson told the other reality challenged illusion dwellers. And yet Boris and his government have recently been involved in actions that will put control of the supply chain in the hands of the west's rivals for economic dominance. Let me explain:

In times past, when men were men and women were double breasted, commodities such as coal and iron were essential for an economy to function. These continue to be important of course, but as the 20th century progressed oil became the economically dominant material, not just for fossil fuels to drive the engines on industry, we use it in making plasdtics, fabrics, soap and cosmetics, a whole range of commodities if fact that Greta Thunberg and  the Exstinktion Rebellion crusties take for granted (OK, scrub the soap for the unwasshed supporters of Exstinktion Rebellion, but you get the idea,) Life would be more difficult and certainly less fragrant without oil. 

In the 21st century, however,  the green future that is being mapped out for the West will not be able to function without several other precious substances: lithium, cobalt, neodymium  are just three. Lithium is important because for a metal it is light, an excellent conductor and it is essential for building not just electric car batteries but the batteries that power a host of gadgets including the.  laptop I am typing this on and the cordless vacuum cleaner I will use later to clean up the peanuts I dropped on the floor a few minutes ago. At present there is no alternative for it and the promised new battery technologies that we are told are imminent are as much scientists pipe dreams as the inter - galactic spaceships in which Elon Musk will take them exploring distant solar systems.

But there are clouds on the horizon and the biggest of them is the political thunderhead that just formed over Afghanistan, where the abject  failure of the American government to read the situation there and the monumental ineptitude of America's demented president and his 'woke' administration has handed the government of Afhhanistan back to the brutal religious fundamentalist rebels, The Taliban, ans with it control of the future to China.

It was widely reported before the western evacuation from Kabul that China was making agreements with The Taliban that would give the chinese government exclusive access to Afghanistan's mineral wealth which is not confined to lithium, there are large deposits of several of the so called rare earth mentals and all are vital to the new technologies that according to the financial and academic establishments will drive the economies of the future. Thanks to the greed of global corporations and the incompetence of western politicians control of most of these vital resources in Asia, Africa and South America has fallen into the hands of China and other nations that are not alliers of the west.

Afghanistan has the world's largest known deposits of lithium though quantities are difficult to estimate, and rare earth metals estimated to be worth between $1 trillion and $3 trillion at current prices and the cost to western users is rising rapidly. The bad news is that Joe Biden's decision to pull American troops out of that country has unilaterally and with no handover of power to a stable authority—and as well as handing billions of $worth of military equipent to a hostile organisation  he has literally handed all of the potential bound up in those mineral deposits to Chinese communists.

Biden's botched exit from Afghanistan may be the final nail in his political coffin but its economic impact will send shockwaves through the industrial and commercial activity of advanced nations for decadess. The USA may have just gifted China an opportunity to grab  control of these valuable reserves reserves and consolidate its domination of the market in these crucial minerals.

Director of emerging markets at asset management firm AllianceBernstein Shamaila Khan told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” that minerals in Afghanistan “can now be exploited,” and with the Taliban now in control of those valuable resources and openly willing to deal with China, it is a “very dangerous proposition for the world.”

As well as litium Afghanistan has large reserves of neodymium (vital in the manufacture of electric motors for EVs and generators for wind turbines, silver, gold, mercury, and other valuable elements used in superconductors, lasers and optic instruments, batteries,  medical equipment and nuclear applications. Ahmad Shah Katawazai, a former diplomat at the Afghan Embassy in Washington D.C. said rare earths in the country were estimated to be valued between $1 trillion and $3 trillion last year. An internal Department of Defense memo in 2010 called Afghanistan “the Saudi Arabia of lithium.” (See for detailed info on rare earths and their uses )


Mining lithium in Afghanistan for an environmentally friendlt future (Picture: Jie Zhao/Contributor/Getty Images )


China has become the dominant player in the global rare earths market due to the people who should ave been steering western economies sleeping at the wheel while eleted leaders were busy virtue signalling and pampering minorities. The Chinese Communist Party has used shadow curbs on their exports of lithium and rare earths as leverage during trade disputes with other countries particularly the USA, Japan and EU member states.. Figures from the U.S. Geological Survey show that priot to the dissolution of western influence in Afghanistan the world’s second-largest economy held about 35% of global rare earth reserves. China's alliance with the new theocratic government of Afghanistan and the influence this will give them over Afghanistan's reserves will further add to its ability to target hi - tech industries in other countries during economic skirmishes such as the bid to replace the US dollar with as the global reserve currency. Additionally, it would open up a steady revenue opportunity for the Islamist terror group. The Taliban has already called China a "welcome friend" in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's vast lithium reserves were identified by geological studies carried out in the 1980s under the Soviet occupation. At that time the discovery had little economic significance as laptop computers, mobile phones and digital cameras had not arrived on the scene, electric vehicles were mostly golf trolleys or short range delivery vehicles and demand for lithium had not taken off . After the Americans arrived in Afghanistan in 2001 attempts were made to set up infrastructure for exploiting Afghan mineral wealth as demand was growing rapidly. In 2007, the United States Geological Survey discovered vast deposits of iron, gold, copper, cobalt and more lithium. This discovery remained largely unknown until 2010. Yet media reports from that year confirmed its significance to modern industry, saying that Afghanistan was on course to be one of the most important mining centers in the world. An internal Pentagon memo that was unearthed at the time even stated that the country could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium." It should be noted that Joe Biden was vice president when that memo became widely known but he is not being referred to as Dementia Joe for nothing..

In 2021 little progress has been made on creating an infrastructure for mineral extraction industries mainly due to the nation's political instability and the tribalistic nature of Afghan society in rural areas. Most of the mineral wealth remains unexploited as a result of the various problems which have overshadowed Afghanistan while the nation stagnates again into almost medieval social conditions. Meanwhile rapidly rising prices for lithium, cobalt and rare earths have proved just how vital Afghanistan's mineral reserves have become. This development makes Biden's irresponsible withdrawal from Afghanistan even more difficult to recognise as anything but insanity.

Despite size, ranking 4th among the world's nations by area, China is surprisingly short on many of the vital minerals it needs to support its rapidly expanding industrial base. In recent years the Chinese government has concluded trade and aid deals with many resource rich African nations to ensure supplies of essential materials for continued growth. In return, African administrations receive revenue for opening up their countries to the Chinese. The fact that some individual African politicians seem to have become extremely wealthy very quickly in recent years is not a coincidence.

It is highly probable the same thing will happen in Afghanistan. True, there will almost certainly have to be a compromise over the appalling treatment of the 12 million-strong Muslim Uighur minority living in Xinjiang, but a similar process to the African policy by which certain Taliban and Muslim leaders become obscenely wealthy obscenely quickly will enable China and Afghanistan to reach a compromise both sidfes are happy with. News organisations in India, Japan, Pakistan, Singapore, Iran and Thailand report that China is eager to forge links with the Taliban in order to gain exclusive access to Afghanistan's mineral assets as quickly as possible.

 This process is already under way, a Chinese consortium announced this week it intends to reopen the Mes Aynak copper mine near Kabul, which is believed to contain some of the largest copper deposits in the world. The consortium, consisting of the state-owned China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC Group) and another Chinese company, Jiangxi Copper, was awarded a 30-year, $2.9 billion contract in 2008 but halted work because of the pandemic. According to an unnamed source at the state-owned Global Times "We would consider reopening [Mes Aynak] after the situation is stabilised and international recognition, including the Chinese government's recognition of the Taliban regime, take place."

Most rare earth elements are atomically similar to copper, (not easy to explain in a non - technical way) and are in copper deposits. The term "rare earth" does not mean they are scarce, some a quite common, but that they are thinly distributed, meaning you have to mine a hell of a lot of bedrock and then put it through a lot of expensive and messy refining processes to obtain a small quantity of the metal.

Although guaranteeing the future availability and price of any important commodity, in this particular situation one thing seems certain: the green future promised by most of the developed world's leaders has been dealt a major blow. In both commercial and strategic terms the madness of Biden's withdrawal and surrender to extremism has been exposed as the action of a weak leader surrounded by incompetent idealogues. Was the president poorly advised by people apparently more concerned with promoting transgenderism than protecting American interests in an increasingly chaotic world? The Afghan debacle has given credibility to political commentators who claim Joe Biden is simply not up to the job? Whatever the answer, the green revolution that has been promised by every G7 nation  and The United Nations now depends on China's goodwill and how much more of the west's industrial base our leaders are prepared to surrender to the Chinese communist Party in order to secure co-operation. The blame for this economic disaster as well as the humanitarian crisis now unfolding in Afghanistan and the resurgence of Islamic State terrorism can be laid squarely at the feet of blundering Joe Biden.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Peoples Republic Of China

30 July 2021

Source page: (Chinese text) translated with free translator

Wang Yi Meets with Baladar, Head of Afghan Taliban Political Council

On July 28, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Head of the Afghan Taliban Political Council Baradar and his delegation in Tianjin. He was accompanied by the heads of the Taliban Religious Council and Propaganda Committee.

  Wang Yi said that China is Afghanistan's largest neighbor, always respects Afghanistan's sovereign independence and territorial integrity, always insists on non-interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs, and always pursues a friendly policy for all Afghan people. Afghanistan belongs to the Afghan people, and the future destiny of Afghanistan should be in the hands of the Afghan people. The hasty withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan actually marks the failure of the U.S. policy toward Afghanistan, and the Afghan people have an important opportunity to stabilize and develop their own country.

Wang Yi pointed out that TTP is a pivotal military and political force in Afghanistan and is expected to play an important role in the process of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan. I hope that TTP will put national and ethnic interests first, hold high the banner of peace talks, establish the goal of peace, build a positive image and pursue an inclusive policy. The various factions and nationalities in Afghanistan should be united to truly put the principle of "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" into practice, promote the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan to achieve substantive results as soon as possible, and independently establish a broad and inclusive political structure in line with Afghanistan's own conditions.

  Wang Yi stressed that the East-Iraq Movement is an international terrorist organization listed by the UN Security Council and poses a direct threat to China's national security and territorial integrity. It is the common responsibility of the international community to fight against the EIM. I hope that Attah will thoroughly delineate the boundaries with all terrorist organizations such as the "East-Iraq Movement", resolutely and effectively combat them, remove obstacles to regional security and stability and development cooperation, play a positive role and create favorable conditions.

 Baradar expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to visit China. He said China has always been a good and trustworthy friend of the Afghan people and appreciated the just and positive role played by China in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban is fully sincere in striving for and achieving peace, and is willing to work with all parties to establish a political structure in Afghanistan that is broadly inclusive and accepted by all the Afghan people, and to safeguard human rights and the rights and interests of women and children. The Taliban will not allow any force to use Afghan territory to do anything harmful to China. Atta believes that Afghanistan should develop friendly relations with its neighbors and the international community. Atta hopes that China will participate more in the peace and reconstruction process and play a greater role in the future reconstruction and economic development of Afghanistan. Atta will also make its own efforts to create a suitable investment environment.

  On the same day, Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao held talks with Baradar and his delegation, exchanging views in depth on issues of common concern, enhancing understanding and expanding consensus.

Translated with (free version)

Taliban Secures World's Largest Lithium Deposits After US Withdrawal From Afghanistan

from Zero Hedge, 26 August 2021

It's been more than a decade since we penned "The US "Discovers" Nearly $1 Trillion In Mineral Deposits In Afghanistan" in which we highlighted the colossal untapped mineral deposits that reside in Afghanistan. 

President Joe Biden's decision to rapidly and completely withdraw from Afghanistan makes even less strategic sense if readers go back to our 2010 post where we quoted "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: Part 2, the 21st Century paradigm"? Which said, 

"Yet the American officials also recognize that the mineral discoveries will almost certainly have a double-edged impact. Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country."

We continued: 

"Which is why it will be best to have the US military not only stay in Afghanistan indefinitely but to get a million man reinforcement surge."

Readers have known for a while Afghanistan was never about the opium trade or the war on terror but rather the massive deposit of minerals essential for renewable energies. 

So in the Economic Hit Man context, why would the Biden administration suddenly pull out of Afghanistan after 20 years if the play all along was about securing rare earth metals? 

We don't want to speculate the Biden administration's intentions, nor do we have any idea. Still, one thing is sure is that the Taliban now control the world's largest lithium deposits is becoming friendly with China. 

Conservative media outlet Free West Media says new relations between the Taliban and China could increase its global dominance in green energies, such as the lithium-ion battery supply chain market. 

Unbeknownst to many, the blog points China and Afghanistan share a 130-mile stretch border. For more on this, here's Free West Media's latest piece titled "Taliban now control one of the world's largest lithium deposits." 

A Bloomberg New Energy Finance Limited report in 2020 highlighted China's global dominance in the lithium-ion battery supply chain market, due to its grip on raw material mining and refining. In 2019, the US imported 80 percent of its rare earth minerals from China, while the EU states imported 98 percent of these materials from China.

China incidentally also shares a small border with Afghanistan called the Wakhan Corridor – 210km long. While the length of the border may appear insignificant, its location is crucial. Afghanistan is believed to have large deposits of gold, iron, copper, zinc, lithium and other rare-earth metals, valued at over $1 trillion. "Afghanistan may hold 60 million metric tons of copper, 2,2 billion tons of iron ore, 1,4 million tons of rare earth elements (REEs) such as lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, and veins of aluminium, gold, silver, zinc, mercury…" according to a 2020 report in The Diplomat.

But the Wakhan Corridor has been used by Islamic Uighur militants opposed to Chinese rule in Xinjiang. Chinese officials meeting with the newly installed Taliban are certainly aware of the risk that radical Islamists pose: "We hope the Afghan Taliban will make a clean break with all terrorist organisations including ETIM (East Turkestan Islamic Movement) and resolutely and effectively combat them to remove obstacles, play a positive role and create enabling conditions for security, stability, development and cooperation in the region," said a high-ranking Chinese official.

Why is this important?

Global demand for lithium is projected to increase 40-fold by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency, along with rare earth elements, copper, cobalt, and other minerals also abundant in Afghanistan. And these minerals happen to be concentrated in only a small number of pockets around the world.

The Bolivian Andes may contain 70 percent of the planet's lithium, and many analysts argue that extracting lithium from brine as in Bolivia is more environmentally friendly than extracting it from rock.

Interestingly, metallic lithium and its complex hydrides are used as high-energy additives to rocket propellants, thermonuclear weapons, or even as a solid fuel.

In 2010, the US Department of Defense called Afghanistan "Saudi Arabia of lithium" after American geologists then discovered that the country's deposits amounted to at least a trillion dollars. Lithium is an essential ingredient to produce long-lasting batteries used in electric cars in particular. The battery of a Tesla Model S, for example, has about 12 kilograms of lithium in it.

Ten years later, these metals have not yet been extracted. The Taliban is unlikely to sell the metal to Americans, and the United States views China, the world's largest lithium producer, as its main rival. And the US wants at least 40 percent of its cars to be electric by 2030. Thus the previous US-led government in Kabul had hoped that the promise of mineral wealth would entice President Trump into making a commitment to stay in the country.

"Afghanistan can be an appropriate place for US industry, and specifically the mining sector, to look at opportunities for investment," Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, the former chief adviser to Afghan President on infrastructure, human capital, and technology, once opined.

But Tom Benson, a PhD in the Department of Geological Sciences at Stanford University, has focused his research on a 16,3 million-year-old supervolcano on the Oregon-Nevada border which contains the largest lithium deposit in the United States. A number of other active volcanoes may hold the same deposits, and there is a particularly "exciting" one, called Bogoslof, in Alaska. That may be why the US has lost interest in Afghanistan.

"The Taliban are now sitting on a stockpile of one of the most strategic minerals in the world," said Rob Schoonover, an ecology expert at the US think tank Center for Strategic Risks, in an interview with Quartz. "The question of whether they will be able to play this role will be important in the future."

Could the Taliban benefit from this resource?

The exploitation of these rare earth metals could undoubtedly give the Taliban an economic advantage. Before the US retreat, the Afghan government had considered selling lucrative mining contracts to American companies. But such agreements were always discussed with the view of keeping the US military in the country and sharing the spoils. With the Taliban now leading the government, the option of involving American mining concerns is of course out of the question.

"As long as there are safer and more reliable sources (of metals, note) elsewhere, the use of Afghan minerals will remain low," said Schoonover. However, the Taliban already have experience in extracting rare stones. By mining lapis lazuli, the Taliban earns at least $300 million per year.

Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president now in exile, thought that the abundance of mineral deposits were a curse for his country. Indeed, many economists are aware of the fact that such rich deposits in developing countries generally become a source of corruption and violence, to the detriment of the locals.

The Taliban will have to find a way to participate in the global lithium trade, much larger than their lapis lazuli trade. Access to Afghan central bank reserves has been denied to the Taliban by the US. The new Afghan leadership could also have trouble in convincing Chinese investors who once lost $3 billion in 2007 in a Taliban copper mine that could not be exploited due to persistent administration blunders.

However, good reason for China to become involved in the extraction of lithium in Afghanistan may not only be the wealth it could generate, but also to avoid more ecological damage caused by lithium mining on its own soil and to limit the scope of Islamic infiltration. The extraction of this metal leads to water shortages and air pollution, but the rewards could coax Taliban leaders into addressing the Uighur headache.

So the question we ask readers: Did the Biden administration just give away Afghanistan's rare earth minerals to China? There's no way in hell that the Taliban will let Western countries mine the land. This would suggest China could soon secure mining deals and start extracting lithium, putting the country ahead of the US in the green energy space. 



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