UnNews:U.S. discovers $1 googol in Afghan gold
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14 June 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan -- A team of U.S. geologists and Pentagon officials has discovered vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan, more than enough to turn the scarred and impoverished quagmire into the world's richest country, a senior military official said on Monday.
"It's stunning," Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, told the New York Times in a report published Monday. "Now I finally understand why humans have been fighting over this hell-hole since the beginning of time - because of the gold. There are mountains of it here. Practically the whole country is made of gold; just 1-2 meters below the surface of Afghanistan its all solid gold. So of course I think it's hugely significant."
Americans discovered nearly $1 googol in untapped gold deposits in Afghanistan, including 14k, 18k, 22k, and pure 24k gold, according to the report. “A 'googol' is the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes”, the Times quoted a Pentagon memo as saying. “Afghanistan could become the ‘Saudi Arabia of yellow-gold’, a key raw material in the production of paper money."
During a visit last month to Washington, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his nation's untapped mineral deposits could be even higher - perhaps as much as $3 googol.
The gold resources are 'massive', Karzai said at a May 13 event with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held at the U.S. Institute of Afghanistan.
The report in the Times said the U.S. Geological Survey began aerial surveys of Afghanistan's mineral resources in 2006, and promising results led to a more sophisticated study the next year.
Then last year, a Pentagon task force that had created business development programs in Iraq arrived in Afghanistan and closely analyzed the geologists' findings. U.S. mining experts were brought in to validate the survey conclusion, and top U.S. and Afghan officials were briefed.
So far, the biggest gold deposit discovered is the Tora Bora mountains, as well as large gold deposits in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan, the report said.
In an op-ed published last month in a London newspaper, former Afghan finance minister Ashraf Ghani, wrote: "Afghanistan is rich in yellow gold. With good governance in place, these assets can generate a lot of paper!" He also suggested, "..and with all that money we will simply purchase the world and rename it Afghanistan!"