China warns companies blindly visiting Afghanistan for mineral exploration as foreigners arrested in several Afghan provinces
China has warned its companies and nationals on Friday against "blindly" visiting Afghanistan to inspect mineral resources after multiple reports emerged of foreigners being arrested without exploration permits in several provinces
China has warned its companies and nationals on Friday against "blindly" visiting Afghanistan to inspect mineral resources after multiple reports emerged of foreigners being arrested without exploration permits in several provinces. Following the exit of the United States, China is expected to play a significant role in the lucrative mining sector in Afghanistan.
In a statement released on Friday, the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan said that Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has "extremely strict" standards for issuing permits for prospecting for minerals and companies and individuals that do this without a permit risk being detained.
The statement also noted, "Currently, there have been many incidents of foreign citizens being detained without permits in various parts of Afghanistan."
Afghanistan is estimated to have untapped mineral deposits worth between $1 trillion and $3 trillion, ranging from copper to gold and rare earth materials.
During the previous government, China won a contract for extracting minerals from the Aynak copper mine, the country’s biggest known copper mine, in Logar province. However, the work on the project remained stalled for years due to the security situation.
Afghanistan also has large reserves of lithium, a key component used for the batteries of electric vehicles, but the country still lacks much of the necessary infrastructure to mine it.
Following the Taliban takeover in the country, representatives of several Chinese companies visited last month on specially arranged visas to inspect potential lithium projects, according to a report in The Global Times, considered as the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
China is the world's top consumer of minerals and has invested in and prospecting for projects in many of the world's resource-rich countries, including in Africa, Latin America and Afghanistan. (SAM)