Afghanistan’s Lithium Wealth Could Remain Elusive
Afghanistan may be the Saudi Arabia of lithium—a key energy storage medium—but prosperity will not flow easily.
Somewhere in the trackless lands that make up much of Afghanistan (map), just to the right or left of the Old Silk Road, there are apparently huge caches of untapped wealth in the form of metal and stone prized in both the ancient world and the modern: gold, copper, and lapis lazuli, to name a few.
In recent days, the U.S. military and geologists working with the Pentagon have pointed to the deposits, whose value has been estimated at about a trillion dollars, as an elixir that promises to drastically alter the troubled Afghanistan economy. The portion of this underground store with perhaps the greatest promise, they suggest, are the deposits of lithium, the soft metal used