"The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates at least 1 million metric tonnes of rare earth element resources within the Khanneshin carbonatite in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. This estimate comes from a 2009-2011 USGS study funded by the Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO).
The Khanneshin carbonatite contains a major potential source of light rare earth elements (LREE), such as lanthanum, cerium, and neodymium. The LREE prospects in the Khanneshin carbonatite are comparable in grade to world-class deposits like Mountain Pass, CA, and Bayan Obo in China, both of which primarily contain LREE.
"The USGS has a long and storied history in Afghanistan," said Marcia McNutt, Director of the USGS. "We hope our neutral and unbiased analysis of the location, supply, and flow of these strategic minerals will help the Afghans understand the true extent of their mineral wealth."
"This is just one more piece of evidence that Afghanistan’s mineral sector has a bright future," said TFBSO Acting Director Regina Dubey. “The international mining community is beginning to realize Afghanistan’s extraordinary mineral potential. The USGS’s groundbreaking work provides a foundation for the kind of future investment that could help create a vibrant Afghan economy."