(18 Jun 2010) SHOTLIST
1. Wide of Afghan President Hamid Karzai taking podium at the Japan Institute of International Affairs
2. Cutaway of audience
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Hamid Karzai, Afghan President:
"So the prospects for Afghanistan are massively great and good. It's a country that will not only be rich, but will be very rich. It will be the industrial hub of mineral resources, and The New York Times described it very, very well, calling Afghanistan 'the Saudi Arabia of lithium'. So Saudi Arabia is the oil capital of the world, Afghanistan will be the lithium capital of the world."
4. Wide of Karzai speaking
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Hamid Karzai, Afghan President:
"Morally, Afghanistan should give access as a priority to those countries that have helped Afghanistan massively in the past few years."
6. Mid shot of Sadako Ogata, former chair of the 1st donor conference on Afghan construction, held in Tokyo 2002, speaking to Karzai
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Hamid Karzai, Afghan President:
(referring to mining of minerals)
"But if.... it will need us to have time, we should be patient to have time. Rather than doing it quickly, we should do it properly with adequate safeguards, adequate environmental guarantees in place, and a proper system of management and distribution. The sooner the better, keeping these three factors in mind."
8. Karzai ending speech, applause
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday said the prospects for his country were "massively great and good" and, referring to Afghanistan's vast mineral wealth, said the country "will not only be rich, but will be very rich."
Geologists have known for decades that Afghanistan has vast mineral wealth, but a US Department of Defence briefing this week put a startling price tag on the country's reserves of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized minerals: at least 908 (b) billion US dollars.
For Afghanistan, a violent, landlocked country with virtually no exports, it is a potential windfall, although formidable obstacles remain to realise it, including lack of investment, infrastructure and adequate security in most of the nation.
The value of Afghanistan's mineral riches could rise even higher when taking into account the country's unknown reserves of lithium, a key ingredient in products from medicines to mobile phone batteries, potentially resting beneath dried-up lake beds scattered across the country.
Addressing a Tokyo think tank - the Japan Institute of International Affairs - on Friday, Karzai said Afghanistan would be the "industrial hub of mineral resources."
"The New York Times described it very, very well, calling Afghanistan 'the Saudi Arabia of lithium'. So Saudi Arabia is the oil capital of the world, Afghanistan will be the lithium capital of the world," he said.
Most of the data on Afghanistan's mineral resources was produced between the early 1950s and 1985 - some by the Soviet Union during its war in Afghanistan.
Much was hidden and protected by Afghan scientists during the following two decades of conflict, but after 2001, the data was returned to the Afghan government.
Geologists say there is a motherlode of the mineral lithium in Ghazni province in a dangerous area of eastern Afghanistan. But large deposits may not mean an automatic windfall - given competition and the uncertainty of the market.
If impoverished Afghanistan is seen as having a bright economic future, that could help foreign governments persuade their war-fatigued publics that securing the country is worth the fight and loss of troops.
Karzai emphasised that access to natural resources would be given "as a priority to those countries that have helped Afghanistan massively in the past few years."
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