On his visit to Tokyo, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said this week that Japan takes priority over other nations when it comes to mining his country's vast mineral deposits. Karzai made his proclamation during a five-day visit to Japan. Grist has more, and Huffington Post even quoted our very own Japan Times:
Photo from the Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which also has the entire text of the press release by the leaders of Japan and Afghanistan... U.S. data about lithium is "withheld" and major producers like Chile are called the "Saudi Arabia of Lithium" by American journalists, writing for Forbes:
"Morally, Afghanistan should give access as a priority to those countries that have helped Afghanistan massively in the past few years," he said, noting Japan has been his country's No. 2 aid donor.
"What . . . we have to reciprocate with is this opportunity of mineral resources, that we must return at the goodwill of the Japanese people by giving Japan priority to come and explore and extract," he said.
Karzai also revealed he would be meeting officials from Mitsubishi Corp. later Friday to discuss mining operations.
The mineral resources should be explored in an environmentally friendly manner and must be used in an accountable way "to prevent corruption in the country." Time and patience to explore these minerals, however, is necessary, he added.
"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," Karzai said. "The sooner the better, keeping these three factors in mind."
Until recently lithium was a minor commodity, used in small quantities by manufacturers of glass, grease and mood-stabilizing drugs. But demand has skyrocketed in recent years, as BlackBerrys and iPods have become middle-class staples. Between 2003 and 2007 the battery industry doubled its consumption of lithium carbonate, the most common ingredient used in lithium-based products. The lithium bonanza may just be starting. Lithium-ion batteries are integral to the automobile industry's plans to wean itself off fossil fuels.So, do have a look inside your mobile phone. Take a look at that square battery that helps you keep in touch with friends, family, lovers, or business associates. If it says "Li-ion" (CELL ORIGIN JAPAN/FINISHED IN CHINA) you know you are part of the global rush for lithium. Except, they will not tell you where the lithium was mined.