"I know one of the problems in Afghanistan is no shipping ports"
Another would be the Taliban. Not sure the Taliban would allow such an industry to exist if they were not in control of where the profits went.
Sorry, didn't have time to read the whole article, but I believe Afghanistan has some Rare Earth Deposits. This might be an opportunity for that country to mine and prepare these elements for consumption in other countries. I know one of the problems in Afghanistan is no shipping ports, but if minerals were refined, they could probably be flown out relatively inexpensively. It might give Afghans a way to produce something other than Opium.
The Russian group Rusnano is looking with great interest at this market. Russia has the largest know deposits of rare earth materials (11 time zones).
Rare earth ventures in Russia are on the rise. While this non-shortage may soon be a non-issue -
it would be good for American companies to be in the mix - now mainly German and Chinese.
When I polled semiconductor, LCD and other electronics manufacturers regarding their plans on dealing with rare earth shortages, it was like pulling teeth--nobody wanted to comment. At first I thought this was because people were afraid that the Chinese would curtail exports to their company, but over-and-over I got the same excuse--rare earths are used in such small quantities in electronic devices that even the higher prices caused by shortages won't affect end-user prices of manufactured devices. Unfortunately, even if that is true--and I don't think it is true about all devices, such as nickel-metal-hydride batteries--it still does not explain people's reluctance to comment. What do you guys in the trenches here? Have you heard of any contingency plans regarding rare-earth scarcity at your company?
The Chinese are damned to sell and dammed not to sell.
Let us bring this industry back, starting with this one, then move on to shoes and shirts. Have you done any needle work lately?
Coming to a site near you:
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.