Tuesday, 15 June 2010


This week, it was revealed that Afghanistan is sitting on such a huge pile of mineral wealth it could become “the Saudi Arabia of lithium” – an element expected to play a major role in the development of electric cars.

God certainly is a joker, you have to admit. First he makes Saudi Arabia into the Saudi Arabia of petroleum, then he turns Afghanistan into the Saudi Arabia of lithium.

The one consolation is that there is competition. In an article in the New Yorker back in March, Lawrence Wright wrote about Bolivia, one of South America’s poorest countries, which is sitting on half of the world’s known reserves of lithium (incidentally, a similar amount to Afghanistan, which in March was “unknown reserves”). And what were the people of Bolivia starting to call their country, according to Wright? The Saudi Arabia of lithium, that’s correct.


See the phrase used in this abstract here. Full version only available to subscribers.