The recent offer by China-based Gochin Company to invest USD 10 billion in Afghanistan’s lithium mining sector, estimated to be worth more than USD 1 trillion, is apparently a broad Chinese strategy to control country’s mineral resources, particularly, its lithium deposits which are critical global mineral supply chains.
According to the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, the Chinese company has also offered to invest in several other Afghan infrastructure projects, including tunnels, hydro-electric dam and highways if it is awarded the lithium mining contract.
After the Taliban takeover of Kabul, Beijing has been looking to increase its economic footprint in Afghanistan and control its natural resources. Chinese corporations and officials have been in contact with Taliban officials to renegotiate and restart previous mining and oil contracts.
Earlier, on January 6, the Taliban signed a deal with Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Company (CAPEIC), a contract to extract oil from the Amu Darya basin. The deal will see an investment of USD 150 million in the first year and USD 540 million over the next three years. Greater presence in Afghanistan provides China with an opportunity to strengthen its regional power and influence.
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