Representatives of five Chinese companies have arrived in Afghanistan on special visa to explore lithium resources in the war-torn country estimated to be worth $1 trillion, Chinese state media reported.
The officials are conducting on-site visits to explore extraction of the metal which is a critical but scarce resource used in batteries and other technologies considered crucial to tackle the climate crisis, according to Global Times.
Exploration of the minerals, however, come with risks as the interim government in Afghanistan tries to consolidate power.
Yu Minghui, Chinese director of the China-Arab Economic and Trade Promotion Committee, said special visas were made available after coordination with Afghanistan’s Mining Ministry.
According to Yu, the officials of the Chinese companies were “concerned about basic guarantees of security and social order in Afghanistan.”
“Some believe friendly relations between China and Afghanistan… are conducive to Chinese companies' operations,” Yu said.
China has been a major backer of the Taliban-led interim government in Afghanistan after US forces exited in August and has since proven to the biggest contributor in humanitarian aid.