KABUL — Afghanistan, one of the world's poorest countries, is sitting on mineral and petroleum reserves worth an estimated one trillion dollars, President Hamid Karzai said Sunday.
The war-ravaged nation could become one of the richest in the world if helped to tap its geological deposits, Karzai told reporters.
"I have very good news for Afghans," Karzai said.
"The initial figures we have obtained show that our mineral deposits are worth a thousand billion dollars -- not a thousand million dollars but a thousand billion," he said.
He based his assertion, he said, on a survey being carried out by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), due to be completed in "a couple of months".
The USGS, the US government's scientific agency, has been working on the 17-million dollar survey for a number of years, Karzai said.
While Afghanistan is not renowned as a resource-rich country, it has a wide range of deposits, including copper, iron ore, gold and chromite, as well as natural gas, oil and precious and semi-precious stones.