Afghanistan to reveal final bidders for giant gold deposit

The Afghanistan Ministry of Mines said Tuesday it opened its final bid for the Badakhshan gold deposit, located in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, Dow Jones Commodities reports.

Mines Minister, Wahidullah Shahrani, said on Tuesday that the bid was the final of four mineral tenders, issued in a process that started in December last year, for the exploration and subsequent exploitation of four gold and copper deposits.

It is estimated that Afghanistan sits on over $1 trillion of untapped mineral wealth, but analysts warn that corruption, war and lack of basic infrastructure are likely to continue delaying the much-needed mining boom in the country.

The country’s reserves of oil, gold, iron ore, copper, lithium, rare earths and other minerals are so vast that an internal Pentagon memo from 2010 —when most of the reserves were discovered— stated the country was posed to become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key element in the manufacture of high tech devices.

The government opened bids for another three huge mineral deposits, all of them mainly copper, last July and it should announce the preferred bidders before the end of the year.