Monday, June 14, 2010

Fighting for Niobium or War Is A Racket

In case anybody was wondering why we have been staying in Afghanistan in order to protect a route for a pipeline we will never be able to build, the answer is we weren’t. Afghanistan has been long suspected of having potentially huge mineral deposits and the report from the Pentagon has leaked out. The NY Times quotes unnamed US government sources that that says there are previously unknown deposits of a whole smorgasbord of minerals including iron, copper, cobalt, gold plus rare earth and essential industrial metals including lithium totaling more than one trillion USD, some mining sources say it‘s real value is more like three trillion (that‘s getting close to the eventual cost of the war).

This is on top of publicly known deposits of staggering wealth including a soon to be developed copper mine so big that China bribed the Afghan Minister of Mining 30 million USD to get the rights to it, China expects revenue of 3 billion. The existence of these deposits has apparently been known since the 1980’s when mining surveys were done by the Soviets. Original Soviet documents were supposedly uncovered by geologists working in Afghanistan in 2004 (where was the CIA for the previous 20 years?). The new estimates are based on follow-up aerial surveys done since then including the use of sophisticated gravity sensing equipment.

Afghanistan has a recent law giving control over and the revenue from all mining to the puppet government in Kabul instead of the provinces (or god forbid, the people). The puppet masters pulling the strings on this bit of wealth enhancement for the corporations was the World Bank in Washington DC (located across the street from the White House) who provided the legislation verbatim to be rubber stamped by the Afghan marionette government.

These friendly bankers are always happy to race to the aid of a country in need. No matter whether you need money because predatory capitalists have wrecked the economy, or some puppet dictator has the wealth of the nation in his own Swiss bank account, or you’ve been bombed into the stone age by the US for no good reason, you can count on the World Bank to arrange a friendly loan. All they require is for you to turn over to their corporate cronies all your resources from now until eternity or until your country is just a moonscape of mining waste.

Afghanistan has no governmental infrastructure to control the dumping of hazardous waste. They don’t even have the pretense of a Minerals Management Service like the Bush Administration provided to protect us from British Petroleum. In other words Afghanistan is a libertarian paradise, at least it will be once the US mercenaries wipe out those pesky indigenous people.

The lithium deposits (like in the batteries) are probably the biggest in the world and more than enough to keep American boys bleeding for years to come. Essential metals and especially the rare earths with the strange names like niobium (used as an alloy in steel and super conducting magnets) have become the exclusive domain of Chinese miners primarily because China has been throwing around their vast reserves of USD to put producers in the rest of world out of business. Stocks in companies that use lithium are up sharply.

Not that the US has any use for these metals since we don’t have any factories, but you didn’t think the US military was actually fighting for America did you? The US Marines no longer occupy countries for the benefit of US interests, they work for the transnational corporations. Just as the German/Hessian soldiers and the British Redcoats really worked for the British East India Company. They were attempting to put down the revolt of the colonists when they objected to the abuses of the trans-colonial corporations, democracy was only an after thought.

Now that the little job the US Military did for British Petroleum in Iraq is winding down they do need something to earn their keep and China needs more niobium. Oh and by the way, we have vast undeveloped reserves of rare earths in the US but it’s cheaper to mine them else where if you don’t count the Pentagon budget. Two thirds of corporations pay zero US taxes so it doesn’t cost them a dime.


Ronmac said...

In many ways it seems that this war against the Pashtan tribesman is wrapping up unfinished business left over from the 19th century before we were so rudely interrupted by the 20th century.