I get angry and sick when I read the following:
Afghanistan’s mineral reserves could eventually be worth as much as $1-trillion, according to estimates by the Pentagon and U.S. geologists, though the amount remains far from proven. A crucial test for Afghanistan is Friday’s deadline for companies to express their interest in bidding for licences to explore and develop four key gold and copper mining properties. Canadian companies are taking on leading roles advising Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines on the process: Vancouver-based Canaccord Financial Inc. on financing, SRK Consulting of Vancouver for geological matters and Toronto’s Heenan Blaikie LLP for legal issues. Afghanistan is also emulating Canadian standards for reporting mineral reserves.
It may well be that Afghanistan has more than a trillion dollars of mineral reserves. It may be as well that they deserve a better life. But the fact remains that Americans are dying in defence of decency. The fact remains that the clerics are bigoted and want women out of public life. The fact remains that the government is corrupt and incompetent and will fall to the Taliban when the Americans pull out. The fact remains that Canada gave up any role in policing the place in disgust.
I recognize the Chinese are all over the place and as far as I understand it already mining. The Indians are already there too:
Kilo was part of an Indian-led consortium that won last year’s tender for the Hajigak iron-ore deposit west of Kabul. It was one of 21 initial expressions of interest. Shahrani estimates Hajigak could be the largest iron-ore reserve in Asia. The minister expects spending on Hajigak to exceed US$14 billion, and investment at the Aynak copper mine southeast of Kabul to reach $4.4 billion, in a country whose GDP was less than $18 billion last year. The rights to develop Aynak were awarded to a Chinese group in 2007, and he expects copper production to begin in 2014.
I may be prepared to change my mind if somebody can persuade me that massive Chinese, Indian, and Canadian mining in Afghanistan not done under the protective umbrella of dead Americans can change a basically feudal society into a modern one. But I know nobody even prepared to try.
I am with Ron Paul that America should, like Canada, pull out and let the cards fall where they will. How many dead Americans for women’s rights and Canadian consultants? Net alone Chinese and Indian mining companies.
I have never been able to understand how some Canadian go and gush with enthusiasm at life in Cuba. But now maybe I understand: if you can mine under the protection of a dictator, or American guns, why not. It is all about profit dressed up as helping a society to better itself.
I call publicly to my friends in SRK here in Vancouver to desist, to withdraw, to make a public announcement that they will not grovel with corruption in dirty places. Doing so is not the way the founders thought or would have acted. In fact I call on Oskar Steffen, Andy Robertson, and Hendrik Kirsten to issue their own statements on this deviation from decency that seems to have taken over the firm. Or if they can, persuade me why I am wrong and it is OK to mine over the dead bodies of American soldiers.
The full report that got me going is at this link.