Just months after the Taliban seized power, Beijing stepped into the void left by the United States and its allies, giving Chinese mining groups the opportunity to access the country’s lithium and copper deposits in Afghanistan. looking for.
A group of mining representatives have visited Afghanistan in recent weeks, according to senior Kabul officials and representatives of Chinese trade associations.
China’s efforts to secure mining rights come when Afghanistan is facing a serious situation Financial and humanitarian crisis After the withdrawal of US and Allied forces in August, and after the Beijing and Taliban leaders met before the withdrawal of the United States.
“China has maintained direct communication with the Taliban since August 2021, is one of the first few countries to send aid, and is eager for finances to stabilize the Afghan economy. We have definitely boosted our relationship with the Taliban, “said Claudia Chia. Analyst at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.
Major economies are rushing to secure Access to lithium Copper is an important resource used to develop technologies such as electric vehicle batteries and smartphones. According to Nomura, lithium deposits in Afghanistan may be comparable to the world’s largest known reserves in Bolivia.
Meetings with the Taliban have been held for the past few weeks over access to Meth Inak, southeast of Kabul.This is one of the largest copper deposits in the world previously grouped by the Chinese group Had a mine license..
According to people with travel knowledge, at least one Chinese private sector group has also traveled eastern Nangarhar and Ragman to study access to other minerals.
However, negotiations were in the early stages and did not guarantee that Chinese miners would return to tap. Afghanistan minerals, People said.
Chinese industry groups have said dozens more companies are inquiring about the possibility of exploring Afghanistan’s resources, including lithium.
As a “Tier 1 Lithium player,” Nomura analysts said in a report that companies are “less likely” to be involved in Afghanistan given concerns about environmental, social and governance issues.
The two Chinese miners mentioned in the report — Ganfeng Lithium, the world’s largest producer of lithium, and Tianqi Lithium, one of the largest listed lithium miners in China — both denied involvement in recent trips. ..
Mining projects in Afghanistan have long been plagued by major logistics and security challenges. For example, Laghman is the birthplace and last base of the city. Isis-K, A radical group inspired by Isis fighting a low-level rebellion against the Taliban.
China is concerned about the Taliban’s approach to the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, which borders Afghanistan and is the western region where Beijing has dropped more than one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
According to analysts, mining and production will depend on the Taliban to ensure security for China’s investment.
“Taliban may consider providing security for China’s projects, just as Pakistan did for the CPEC project,” said the Beijing Assistance Infrastructure Project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Said Chia.
“Or you could hire a Chinese private security company that already exists in Central Asia and Pakistan to provide security. .. That said, managing security on the ground will still be difficult. “She said.
China Called for the lifting of economic sanctions About Afghanistan and the Taliban being given access to billions of dollars of frozen foreign exchange reserves held by multilateral financial institutions, including the World Bank and the IMF.
Additional report by Maiqi Ding in Beijing
China’s mining group scrutinizes Afghanistan for opportunities
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