BEIJING (Reuters) – As China warms to the Taliban regime by stepping up humanitarian aid and diplomatic support for its global recognition, Chinese companies are busy exploring contracts to mine Afghanistan’s resource-rich mineral deposits, official media reported here on Wednesday.
Representatives of several Chinese companies have arrived in Afghanistan on special visas and are carrying out on-site inspections of potential lithium projects, while others have made contacts about such projects, Yu Minghui, director of the committee, who is helping Chinese companies to explore business opportunities. in Afghanistan, state agency Global Times said.
China, which closely coordinates its Afghan policy with Pakistan after the Taliban came to power in August, has kept its embassy as well as that of Pakistan and Russia open and has stepped up its campaign for its global recognition of the interim government led by the Afghan activist. group although he has not yet recognized the regime.
For its part, China has also pressured the Taliban regime to curb Uighur militants of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) active in the unstable province of Xinjiang.
Beijing also announced $ 31 million in aid for Afghanistan and sent 1,000 tons of food and supplies to the country last week.
China, which shares narrow borders with Afghanistan, is considering extending its $ 60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan in addition to operating the mineral-rich mines.
The Taliban have already said that China has a big role to play in Afghanistan in rebuilding the war-torn country.
“China is a big country with a huge economy and capacity. They can play a big role in rebuilding, rebuilding Afghanistan,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told state media here earlier.
Amid the friendly relations, interest in the Afghan mining sector is also increasing among Chinese companies, including projects involving copper and lithium, given the massive deposits estimated at over $ 1 trillion, according to the report from the Global Times.
In addition to the five Chinese companies whose representatives are currently in Afghanistan, at least 20 Chinese public and private companies have also asked about the lithium projects, said Gao Susu, a member of the Arab China Economic and Trade Promotion Committee.
However, despite the growing interest and on-site inspections, major hurdles and risks remain for any potential project and many companies are likely to take a wait-and-see stance until conditions improve, according to the report.
Zhou Shijian, former vice chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters, said he supports Chinese companies to explore potential projects in Afghanistan, but “above all” is that the Taliban government must ensure the safety of personnel and projects.
“The problem is to ensure security. If security is not guaranteed, the gain will not be worth the loss,” Zhou told the daily. “What I mean is that we need to take a closer look at the situation in the country before deciding whether the company will locate there,” he said.


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