06/13/2010 10:43 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Afghanistan Mineral Deposit Discovery: Afghan Economy, War Could Be Altered By Nearly $1 Trillion In Iron, Copper, Cobalt, Gold, Lithium

The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits -- including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium -- are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

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