2010年6月19日土曜日

アフガニスタン 埋蔵鉱脈92兆円

 アフガニスタン国内で推定1兆ドル近くに及ぶ鉄や銅、リチウムなどの
金属資源が未開発のまま埋蔵されているのを米政府の調査チームが発見
したと、米政府当局者の話として報じた。

金属資源(可能性含む)
鉄、銅、金、コバルト、リチウム、マグネシウム、クロミウム、ニッケル、
水銀

アフガン政府の鉱業省(?)大臣は、中国鉱業会社から賄賂をもらったとして、
更迭(本人は否定)され、米銀支援により現大臣が任命されている。

アフガン、イラク戦争を始めたのは、米英がアフガンの油が欲しかった
からと報道されていたが、実際には、中国がイラクで油を買いあさっている
とのこと。

中国国内では、英豪系のリオ・ティント関係者を犯罪者として裁いても、
中国鉱業会社からのアフガン政府大臣への賄賂についてはおとがめなしの
ようだ。

地球資源の獲得競争は米英中が値をつり上げているのか。

リオ裁判で有罪確定


Real Danger' in Discovering Afghan Minerals The Associated Press


---アフガンに巨大埋蔵鉱脈 金など92兆円規模、米調査---
2010年6月15日5時0分
http://www.asahi.com/international/update/0614/TKY201006140588.html

 【ワシントン=望月洋嗣】米紙ニューヨーク・タイムズは14日、アフガニスタン各地に1兆ドル(約92兆円)規模の鉱物資源が埋蔵されているとする米国防総省の調査結果を報じた。鉄、銅、金のほか、リチウムなどの希少金属も大量にあり、経済復興の要になると期待される一方、資源確保をめぐって反政府武装勢力タリバーンの攻勢が激化するとの見方もある。
 同紙によると、2004年、アフガンの鉱物資源を復興に役立てようと考えた米国の地質学者が、旧ソビエト連邦が侵攻当時の1980年代に作製した鉱脈図を発見。米地質調査所(USGS)がこれを元に、アフガン全土の7割以上を航空機で調査し、実際に多くの鉱脈があることをつきとめた。
 鉄や銅、コバルトの巨大な埋蔵地のほか、アフガン南部では大規模な金の鉱脈が確認され、中部ガズニ州付近の塩湖ではリチウムの巨大な埋蔵地がみつかった。リチウムの埋蔵量は、世界有数の産出地として知られるボリビアに匹敵するとみられ、米国防総省内には「アフガンが『リチウムのサウジアラビア』になる」との見方もあるという。超伝導物質の原料になるニオブも大量にあるとみられる。
 これらのデータをもとに、アフガンの経済復興策を担う米国防総省の特別チームが昨年、鉱物資源の経済規模を「1兆ドル近く」と算出。結果はゲーツ国防長官やアフガンのカルザイ大統領にも報告され、米政府がアフガン政府に対し採掘権管理の指導などを始めている。鉱業の歴史がないアフガンでは、採掘技術の習得や社会基盤整備に時間がかかるとされるが、数年後には一部で操業開始できる見通しだという。
 アフガンの治安と経済の回復を最重要課題とするオバマ政権にとって、膨大な鉱物資源の発見は明るいニュースだが、「もろ刃の剣」(同紙)だとの指摘も出ている。
 タリバーンが資源確保を目的に支配地域の拡大を強めたり、鉱物資源が豊富な地域の指導者と中央政府との間で「資源をめぐる争い」が頻発したりする事態が予想されるためだ。採掘権の認可をめぐるアフガン当局者の汚職増加や環境破壊も懸念される。同紙は、アフガンで銅山の採掘権を持つ中国が他の資源獲得に乗り出し、米国と対立しかねないとの米政府高官の見方を紹介している。


---Taleban zone's mineral riches may rival Saudi Arabia, says Pentagon---
June 15, 2010
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article7149696.ece

Afghanistan is sitting on mineral resources worth $1 trillion and could become one of the world’s most important mining centres, the Pentagon announced yesterday, as it tried to drum up foreign investment and wean the country off the opium trade.

A Pentagon memo predicted that the country could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium” - a metal that is a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and mobile phones.

The largest deposits have been uncovered in salt lakes in Ghazni province, eastern Afghanistan, where the Taleban retain a dominant presence. Many of the other mineral deposits are also in Taleban strongholds, presenting the coalition forces and any incoming global mining companies with security headaches.

US and Afghan officials acknowledge that it will take many years to develop a mining industry and in the present security climate international companies are likely to weigh up the risks before launching into an investment programme in a country still politically unstable and suffering from insurgency and corruption.

The Pentagon estimate was questioned by geologists and mining experts, who said that it was based on old and incomplete data and did not take into account security and infrastructure problems.

Two senior geologists working in Afghanistan also said that they were unaware of any proven deposits of lithium.

The announcement nonetheless throws a spotlight on probably the only legal industry with the potential to prop up the Afghan economy - worth only $12 billion last year - after Western troops and subsidies are withdrawn. The narcotics export trade in the country is estimated to be worth an annual $4 billion.

“I think it’s very, very big news for the people of Afghanistan,” Waheed Omar, a spokesman for President Karzai, told a news conference. “This is an economic interest that will benefit all Afghans and will benefit Afghanistan in the long run.”

The Pentagon memo appeared to be an effort to attract international interest in the mining sector before the auction of the Hajigak iron deposit, which could be worth $5 billion to $6 billion (L3.4 billion-L4 billion) in the next few weeks.

It coincided with a visit to India by Wahidullah Shahrani, the new Afghan Minister of Mines, to solicit bids for Hajigak after the cancellation of a planned tender last year because of a lack of international interest. Mr Shahrani was appointed with US backing in January after his predecessor was sacked for allegedly taking bribes from a Chinese mining company - a charge he denies. Mr Shahrani is due to visit Britain next week.

Afghan and Western officials are anxious for more companies to bid for Hajigak and other deposits to prevent China from gaining control over Afghanistan’s natural resources through bids subsidised heavily by Beijing.

A Pentagon spokesman admitted that the estimate was based principally on old data, which was gathered mainly by the Soviets during their occupation of Afghanistan from 1979-1989.

The British Geological Survey collated that data between 2003 and 2008, and the US Geological Survey carried out an aerial survey of Afghanistan in 2006 before publishing a report on its mineral resources in 2008.

“All the public information has been in the public domain for several years now,” the Pentagon spokesman told The Times. “We took a look at what we knew to be there, and asked what would it be worth now in terms of today’s dollars. The trillion dollar figure seemed to be newsworthy.” He said that the estimate was arrived at by a team of US officials from the Pentagon, the State Department and USAID working with experts from the US Geological Survey (USGS) over the past two to three years.

The team was overseen by Paul Brinkley, Deputy Under-Secretary of Defence for Business, who worked previously in Iraq trying to promote local business and attract foreign investment.

The Pentagon spokesman said he was certain that the estimate was based on proven reserves of minerals including gold, copper, iron, cobalt and lithium.

However, he could not confirm a report that the team had discovered lithium deposits in the province of Ghazni that could be as large as Bolivia’s.

Stephen Peters, the head of the USGS’s Afghanistan Minerals Project, said that he was unaware of USGS involvement in any new surveying for minerals in Afghanistan in the past two years. “We are not aware of any discoveries of lithium,” he said.

Another experienced geologist working in Afghanistan said that it would take at least three to five years to establish a proven deposit of lithium.

“They couldn’t have done a proper assessment. They might have taken a few samples and found some lithium, but that doesn’t mean anything,” he said.

He also dismissed a report that the US team had found proven deposits of niobium - another rare metal that is used in wind turbines.

“If these were proven reserves then all the big mining companies would be rushing in, which they are not,” he said.


---NYタイムズ:「アフガンに金属資源1兆ドル」と報道---
毎日新聞 2010年6月14日 19時44分
http://mainichi.jp/select/world/america/news/20100615k0000m020055000c.html

 米紙ニューヨーク・タイムズ(電子版)は13日、アフガニスタン国内で推定1兆ドル(約92兆円)近くに及ぶ鉄や銅、リチウムなどの金属資源が未開発のまま埋蔵されているのを米政府の調査チームが発見したと、米政府当局者の話として報じた。
 開発に成功すれば、アフガニスタンを世界有数の資源国の地位に押し上げるほどの埋蔵量で、アフガン戦争の行方や同国経済を一変させる可能性もあるという。
 同紙によると、発見された金属資源は金やコバルトも含み、激戦地であるパキスタンとの国境地帯を含む国内各地に点在している。
 発見量が最も多いのは鉄と銅で、米地質学者によると携帯電話などに使われるリチウムの埋蔵量は、世界最大規模の南米ボリビアに匹敵する可能性もあるという。(共同)


---アフガンは金属資源の宝庫 米調査、推定1兆ドルと報道---
2010年6月14日 16時28分
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2010061401000469.html

 【ニューヨーク共同】米紙ニューヨーク・タイムズ(電子版)は13日、アフガニスタン国内で推定1兆ドル(約92兆円)近くに及ぶ鉄や銅、リチウムなどの金属資源が未開発のまま埋蔵されているのを米政府の調査チームが発見したと、米政府当局者の話として報じた。
 開発に成功すれば、アフガニスタンを世界有数の資源国の地位に押し上げるほどの埋蔵量で、アフガン戦争の行方や同国経済を一変させる可能性もあるという。
 同紙によると、発見された金属資源は金やコバルトも含み、激戦地であるパキスタンとの国境地帯を含む国内各地に点在している。
 発見量が最も多いのは鉄と銅で、米地質学者によると携帯電話などに使われるリチウムの埋蔵量は、世界最大規模の南米ボリビアに匹敵する可能性もあるという。
 チームは米国防総省当局者と米地質学者で構成され、調査結果はカルザイ同国大統領にも報告された。


---Analysis: Afghan mine sector sparkles but problems abound---
WASHINGTON
Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:58pm EDT
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65D4UG20100614

(Reuters) - Afghanistan has rich mineral deposits, from iron ore and copper to precious stones, but their potential is stifled by war, bad infrastructure and deep investor caution.

Experts say revenues could amount to hundreds of billions of dollars -- a statistic U.S. officials are honing in on given the cost of the nine-year war and Afghanistan's paltry economy -- but such a bounty is years, even decades away.

"Rather than being a wasteland, Afghanistan is a motherlode of mineral resources. The challenge is how to extract it and make sure it benefits all Afghans," said James Bever, director of the task force for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

"Seven or eight or 10 years from now we may look back and say this was the big thing," said Bever.

Mining analysts say while Afghanistan's mineral potential is enticing, the risks are too big for most companies who worry their investments will be attacked by the Taliban or affected by the Afghan government's reputation for corruption.

"An established company would not want to go to its shareholders and say we want to invest in it," said Anthony Young of Dahlman Rose & Co, an investment bank in New York.

A giant copper contract was handed out in 2007 to a Chinese consortium for a deposit in the Aynak region south of Kabul.

The Afghan mining ministry is doing an international roadshow later this month to revive an iron ore tender scrapped in February, partly due to lack of interest and market instability at that time.

Chinese and Russian companies are expected to be among bidders for the iron ore tender for the Hajigak deposit west of Kabul, but many North American mining houses are likely to stay away and point to problems with the first copper contract.

CAUTIOUS

The Canadian mining company Hunter Dickinson lost a bid for the copper deposit to China's top producer, Jiangxi Copper Co, and China Metallurgical Group Corp.

"Given the escalation of violence in the country, it turned out alright for us," said Robert Schafer, executive vice president of business at the Canadian firm.

Schafer said it would take a long time before the industry showed profits, pointing out that from the moment a discovery was made it usually took seven to 10 years before it could be seen as profitable and could take as long as two decades.

Other mining firms are also cautious, citing basic infrastructure issues, power and other problems.

"From our standpoint, power plants had to be built and there were lots of other things. Their expectations were a lot higher than the reality," said one mining industry source whose company looked into the copper bid. He declined to be named.

The World Bank has been working to improve Afghanistan's nascent mining sector and points to many gaps in the "value chain", including transforming the mines ministry.

"It has to be changed from a Soviet-style operating body to a regulatory apparatus or ministry as we would have in most countries," said Gary McMahon, a senior mining specialist at the World Bank.

"You are not going to see the majors (big mining firms) going into Afghanistan ... but there are mining companies which will say it is worth the risk," said McMahon, who was in Kabul last week to see Afghan officials.

There are also concerns over the mining law and whether the finder of a deposit has the right to exploit it.

"The government has the intent to make 'the right to mine' more in line with international practice," McMahon said.

MAPPING OUT RICHES
The Pentagon believes Afghanistan's untapped mineral deposits may be worth more than $1 trillion and could help the country's economy and help U.S. efforts to bolster its war-battered government, a Pentagon spokesman said on Monday.

"It's certainly potentially good news, especially for Afghanistan," said Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan.

Including the two well-known, world-class deposits of copper and iron ore, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has pinpointed 24 areas across Afghanistan which it says show most mineral potential, including magnesium, chromium, gold, nickel, mercury and lithium and other rare minerals used for mobile phones and other technology.

"Unfortunately it (rare minerals) is right in the middle of what the military call the kinetic (war) zone," said USGS expert Jack Medlin.

Air surveys have also shown oil and gas deposits which earlier Soviet studies highlighted. However, one in the Helmand basin that was expected to yield great potential may not be all it was cracked up to be, Medlin said.

There have also been enormous problems gathering accurate soil and rock samples because of the war and much data has not been verified, particularly in the Helmand area, he added.

(Writing by Sue Pleming, editing by Anthony Boadle)


---Afghan Officials Elated by Minerals Report---
By ALISSA J. RUBIN
Published: June 14, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/world/asia/15afghan.html?src=mv

KABUL, Afghanistan - Government officials sounded headily optimistic Monday as they fielded questions from local and international reporters about a new report on the extent of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth that suggests considerable potential for products other than opium, which until now has been the country’s most lucrative export.

The report, produced by the American military and the United States Geological Survey, found that Afghanistan had at least $1 trillion in mineral wealth.

In a news conference primarily with Afghan reporters, President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman, Waheed Omar, called the report “the best news we have had over many years in Afghanistan.”

“The Afghan government is actively looking to its Ministry of Mines, to its Ministry of Commerce and to other entities in the Afghan government to start to bring these to the benefit of the Afghan people,” he said.

As they waited to hear Mr. Karzai’s spokesman, some Afghan reporters excitedly calculated among themselves how much each Afghan would theoretically get if the mineral treasure trove were divided equally. Assuming the $1 trillion valuation and Afghanistan’s population of 29 million, that would give each Afghan man, woman and child $34,482.76.

Bidding for rights to explore the reserves could begin in as little as six months, said Jawad Omar, spokesman for the Mines Ministry. The minister is expected to give a detailed news conference on the report this week.

According to the report, which was described Monday in The New York Times, Afghanistan has at least $1 trillion in mineral deposits that have yet to be unearthed. It is a potential income source so vast that if it were tapped and the wealth handled in a way to benefit the whole population, the country could be transformed. It would also turn Afghanistan into a mining center.

That would, however, require a substantial change in the country’s circumstances, since many of the reserves were found in politically unstable areas, said Mr. Omar, the Mines Ministry spokesman.

“Mining is not like a shop that you can open and immediately take advantage of,” he said, adding that it would most likely take 5 to 10 years before the country could begin to use those reserves.

“Mining needs studies, infrastructure and security in order to attract the investments,” he said.

American geological experts have said it could take far longer, perhaps decades, given the lack of mining infrastructure.

Afghan officials said the government believed that there was even more wealth than was reflected in the minerals survey, in part because the surveyors did not examine closely the entire country and at least 30 percent of it has yet to be fully investigated.

One worry, raised by reporters at the presidential spokesman’s weekly news conference on Monday, is that neighboring countries as well as the Taliban would see the wealth as a further incentive to wrest power from the current government. Or perhaps in some areas, insurgents or warlords would try to ensure that a measure of the wealth came to them.

Waheed Omar, the president’s spokesman, avoided addressing the worrisome possibilities and focused on the potential benefits.

“This will improve drastically the lives of the Afghan people, the economic status of the Afghan people and to see that positively, that will unite the Afghan people,” he said.


---China picking up lots of oil in Iraq---
By SINAN SALAHEDDIN Associated Press
June 9, 2010, 10:19PM
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7045238.html

WASIT, Iraq - The Chinese engineers and laborers from Al-Waha Oil Co. work alongside their Iraqi counterparts under a sweltering sun, readying land southeast of Baghdad for infrastructure to extract and carry the liquid that's key to Iraq's future: oil.

A red banner hangs at the entrance of the office of the company - the Iraqi affiliate of China's state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. - its Chinese characters promising anyone who can decipher them: “We will try our best to make this project a success.”
Demand for crude

The scene, an increasingly common one in postwar Iraq, is more than a reflection of how the country home to the world's third-largest proven reserves of crude is pushing to boost its output. It's also a testament to the lengths to which China will go to secure the oil it sorely needs to fuel its galloping economy as its own crude supplies fall far short of demand.

“For China, oil security is largely about avoiding disruption to supplies and cushioning the effects of dramatic fluctuations in oil prices,” said Barclays Capital oil analyst Amrita Sen. “Iraq has become an obvious target to secure the barrels of oil for future consumption.”

From among the most outspoken of critics of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, China has emerged as one of the biggest economic beneficiaries of the war, snagging five lucrative deals. While Western firms were largely subdued in their interest in Iraq's recent oil auctions, China snapped up three contracts, shrugging off the security risks and the country's political instability for the promise of oil.

The quest for crude has left a heavy Chinese footprint in a number of countries where others have shied away, whether because of violence, human rights violations or sanctions.

In the broader Middle East, China has helped develop and expand the oil industry in Sudan, a nation whose president is under international indictment for war crimes. It has also signed deals in Iran, where the hard-line government faces a fourth round of U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program. Iran has denied claims by the U.S. and others that its nuclear efforts are geared to weapons production.

The result of its efforts is that about half of China's oil comes from the region. It has ousted the United States as OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia's top oil customer. Saudi Arabia has also set up a joint venture refinery in China.

Iraq, however, has emerged as one of Beijing's best hopes for oil in a world where cheap, reliable sources of new crude are increasingly harder to obtain. While dealing with Iran carries political baggage for China, Iraq is a more calculated risk.

Sanctions in place against Iran sharply limit investments in the country and have largely precluded Western oil majors from aggressively following up on projects there. New sanctions by the United Nations will expand those restrictions. Even so, Iran is China's third-largest supplier.
Standstill in Iran

“Iraq is extremely important for Chinese companies' growth strategy, especially given that Iran is likely to face much of a standstill for years,” said IHS Global Insight's Mideast oil analyst, Samuel Ciszuk.

The country, whose oil sector has been battered by years of neglect, war, sabotage and under-investment, produces only about 2.4 million barrels per day - well below its pre-2003 invasion production levels.

But contracts awarded during two oil and gas field auctions over the past year are expected to raise output to as much as 12 million barrels per day within seven years, according to Iraqi officials. Analysts say those estimates are too ambitious.

Either way, production will rise, and China will play a role and stands to benefit.

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