Cultural heritage vs. mining on the new silk road?
As the United States and NATO prepare to scale down their mission in Afghanistan, and with it the massive international funding that has subsidized the country and its government for the last ten years, how does Afghanistan keep afloat economically? The country possesses rich mineral resources. But due to its ancient history, these typically lie intertwined with priceless archeological remains. And mineral extraction carries serious ecological risks, which a country emerging from decades of conflict is only now gaining some experience in managing. Mes Aynak, where the Chinese company China Metallurgical Group (“MCC”) obtained the contract to mine one of the world’s largest copper deposits, fully embodies these dilemmas.