(Bloomberg) — Chinese firms are showing interest in exploiting Afghanistan’s vast untapped mineral resources as Beijing seeks a role in reconstructing the nation’s war-ravaged economy.
Afghanistan is sitting on deposits estimated to be worth $1 trillion or more, including what may be the world’s largest lithium reserves, a vital component for the energy-storage batteries that are driving the world’s transition away from fossil fuels.
The opportunity in Afghanistan comes after the U.S., China’s great geopolitical rival, ended its two-decades long military presence in the country earlier this year.
Taliban government officials recently met with representatives from five private Chinese companies to discuss mining in the country, according to the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment. The companies showed “strong interest” in the nation’s mineral deposits as well as the construction and agriculture sectors, Khanjan Alokozay, a senior member of the chamber, said by phone.
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