“Dan Rather Reports” Looks At Afghanistan’s Largest Foreign Investment Project – a Copper Mine, Now Controlled By the Chinese Government

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Was the bidding process for mining this copper fair, and does China truly intend to bring jobs and economic development to the people of Afghanistan?

DALLAS (April 11, 2011) – Tuesday’s “Dan Rather Reports” focuses on the world’s second largest untapped copper deposit, located in Afghanistan’s volatile Logar Province, in a town called Mes Aynak, 20 miles outside of Kabul. The mine was recently offered up for bid to international mining companies. A Chinese company won the contest for the mine, which is said to be worth 88 billion dollars.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Mines, the Chinese outbid a slew of Western mining companies in a fair and open process with over three billion dollars and big promises of helping out the locals.

But to hear one man tell it, the biggest commercial project in the history of Afghanistan will help no one but the Chinese. That’s the allegation of James Yeager, an American mining expert, who worked as an advisor to the Afghan Ministry of Mines during the bidding.

“One of the problems with international development, is a lot of countries have a tendency to develop the resources, but the wealth only goes to those in power,” says Yeager. “And that’s a real problem, because the real wealth needs to go to the people and develop the country.”

If and when the fighting ever stops in Afghanistan, the success of the country’s economy will depend on one crucial factor: foreign investment. The country needs capital and jobs. Will this copper mine, potentially worth billions of dollars, now owned and operated by the Chinese government, help or hinder Afghanistan’s opportunity for economic growth?

Watch “Dan Rather Reports: The Mother Lode” premiering on HDNet, Tuesday, April 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET with an encore at 11:00 p.m. ET.

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