Friday, June 18, 2010

Lithium from Afghanistan eyed for future electric car batteries

Lithium has been discovered in Afghanistan, in vast quantities. Batteries that will make future electric cars practical will be made from lithium, a rare-earth metal mined from salt flats and clay. Lithium batteries for cars, phones and computers could give the metal a lot more strategic value than oil within the 21st century. Much like most of the world’s oil, vast deposits of lithium are found in remote, backward countries hostile to the United States. Countries with confirmed mother lodes of lithium like Argentina, Boliva and now Afghanistan are being referred to as the “Saudi Arabias” of Lithium.

Source for this article: Lithium in Afghanistan for electric cars – a blessing and a curse By Personal Money Store

Afghan corruption could feed on lithium

American officials announced the discovery of rich lithium deposits in Afganistan on Monday. The New York Times reports that nearly $1 trillion worth of lithium and other minerals permeate Afghanistan, including cobat, iron, copper and gold. U.S. objectives for the Afganistan war could either be facilitated or debilitated by the presence of the mineral reserves, which exist in quantities far larger than anywhere else known. The Afghan people could possibly be liberated from generations of war by the vast mineral wealth. Or the known presence of lithium and other precious metals could increase Taliban resolve to control the country and intensify the Afghanistan war. Virtually any outcome will fuel the graft and theft typical of Afghan corruption.

Afghanistan, war and lithium

Afghanistan lithium and other strategic minerals could bring the international focus of mining to this failed nation. But Afghanistan’s economy, presently based on opium cultivation, has none of the heavy industry required to capitalize on its mineral wealth. Despite the irreplaceable blood and treasure The US has poured into Afghanistan, China may be better positioned to exploit and control Afghanistan lithium. Blogger Aziz Poonawalla postulates than U.S. strategic control of Afghanistan's minerals could be contested aggressively by China. Other analysts predict the corrupted Hamid Karzai will hop in bed with China and try to oust U.S. forces.

Boliva's lithium pipe dream

Afghanistan lithium is huge because a bleak country full of sheep, dust and landmines could supply the critical element that makes hundreds of millions of smartphones and laptops possible. Automakers are counting on a future of electric cars made possible by advanced lithium-ion batteries. A recent article within the New Yorker reports that Boliva has nearly half the world's known lithium lying undisturbed under vast salt flats. However, it's doubtful that Boliva will ever get rich from its trove of lithium, experts believe. Boliva’s socialist government is hostile to the U.S., and its infrastructure is little a lot more developed than Afghanistan’s. Before Bolivia can hope to exploit lithium as a twenty-first-century fuel, it must first develop the rudiments of a twentieth-century economy.

Or become the prize for opponents within the next 21st century war.

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