US geologists have discovered almost $1tn-worth of untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including vast reserves of copper and lithium.

The deposits, including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and lithium, could transform the war-torn country into one of the most important mining centres in the world, according to The New York Times.

The country also has a large potential to become one of the top lithium producers with dry salt lakes in the country’s western region containing large deposits of lithium, officials conducting ground surveys confirmed.

A team of US geologists and Pentagon officials discovered the country’s mineral wealth with help from charts and data collected by Soviet mining experts in the 1980s.

The mineral deposits are scattered throughout the country, including the southern and eastern regions along the border with Pakistan.

Development of a mining industry in the country could take a number of years but mining could attract heavy investment even before the mines become profitable, creating the possibility of jobs.