The Biddings Bonanza on Afghan Mineral Rights Is Set to Begin
Whatever the speculation on the timing of The New York Times’ apparently-not-a-disclosure of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth — see Marc Ambinder, Matthew Yglesias, Tom Ricks — the Afghan government is very happy to have the story out. The Times’ Alissa Rubin describes Afghan officials as “giddy” over the story, and ready to accelerate the bidding process:
Bidding for the rights to explore the reserves could begin in as little as six months, said Jawad Omar, the spokesman for the mines ministry. The minister is expected to give a detailed news conference on the study later in the week.
Ah, an accelerated bidding process that could draw in lots and lots of international competition in one of the most corrupt countries on earth. What could go wrong? More Rubin:
Assuming the $1 trillion valuation and Afghanistan’s population of 29 million, that would give each Afghan man, woman and child roughly $34,482.76.
Very unexpectedly, the Pentagon is doing a briefing on the mineral wealth “discovery” in a few minutes. I’ll update this post when I know more. Update: Never mind! The call-in number DOD gave out doesn’t work.