Afghan Mineral Estimates
So after reading that New York Times story about the Afghan mineral finds Steve mentioned, I got curious about just how large that stockpile of “treasure” really was. Unfortunately, the Times story was only moderately helpful in that regard, focusing mostly on “money quotes” with little mention of actual quantities. OTOH, it did include this somewhat-helpful table, which gave a breakdown of what minerals accounted for what portions of that eye-catching $1 trillion figure. Using those numbers, along with price & resource information from USGS’s 2010 Mineral Commodities Summaries, I was able to generate the following table, containing my guestimates of what Afghan mineral resources actually amount to, and how they compare with US & world resources of the same.
|Mineral value ($ bn)||2009 price ($)|
|Iron||420.9||70.00 / metric ton|
|Copper||274.0||2.30 / lb|
|Niobium||81.2||39,000.00 / metric ton|
|Cobalt||50.8||18.00 / lb|
|Gold||25.0||950.00 / troy oz|
|Molybdenum||23.9||25.80 / kg|
|Rare earths||7.4||12,137.82 / metric ton of RE oxides|
|Asbestos||6.3||613.00 / metric ton|
|Silver||5.3||13.37 / troy oz|
|Potash||5.1||820.00 / metric ton of K2O|
|Aluminum||4.4||0.78 / lb|
|Afghan (implied)||US||World||2008 US consumption (apparent)|
* = reserve # cited in lieu of resource #.
1. I used a non-USGS estimate for world gold resources; see here. For asbestos, USGS didn’t give US resource #’s; ditto US & world resource #’s for aluminum.
2. These probably overestimate Afghan resources somewhat, since I was using USGS’s 2009 mineral prices instead of current ones (for which I couldn’t find a complete set).