Immediately after the New York Times published a report last week of the Pentagon’s “discovery” of nearly $1 trillion worth of mineral reserves in Afghanistan, the backlash began. The U.S. Geological Survey released a report on the country’s mineral reserves in 2007, it turned out. Why was this coming up now? The bloggers pounced. By the end of the week, the accepted wisdom was that there was nothing new in this latest piece of government spin.
Drowned in the noise, however, was a fascinating bit of news: that just this month a Pentagon team was hunting for minerals in Afghanistan’s dry lakes, and that early findings suggested that one site alone might contain more lithium than Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, which is believed to hold up to half the world’s known supply.