Photo: The Taliban's Ministry of Mine and Petroleum

Chinese company offers $10 billion to the Taliban for access to lithium deposits

The Taliban’s Ministry of Mine and Petroleum said on Thursday that a Chinese company, Gochin, has expressed willingness to invest $10 billion on Afghanistan’s lithium deposits.

The group’s Minister for Mine and Petroleum, Shahabuddin Delawar, according to the ministry, met with representatives from Gochin in Kabul. The Chinese investment, the ministry said, would create 120,000 direct and a million indirect jobs in the country.

As part of the investment, Gochin has said, it will repair the Salang Pass in seven months, carve another tunnel and will process the mined lithium inside Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban’s return to power, China has expanded its economic ties with the Taliban, with Chinese companies offering investments in Afghanistan.

In January 2023, Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Co (CAPEIC) signed a $540 million deal  to extract oil from northern Afghanistan’s Amu Darya basin.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese mining companies have long aspired to gain access to Afghanistan’s large lithium deposits, which is estimated to worth $1 trillion.