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SAIL hosts meeting of Indian contenders for Hajigak deposits
to discuss consortium approach
19 May, 2011
Representatives of the 15 Indian
steel & mining companies who had visited Afghanistan recently
to inspect iron ore deposits at Hajigak in Afghanistan met
today at Ispat Bhawan, the corporate headquarters of Steel
Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) in New Delhi, at SAIL’s
invitation, to deliberate upon their future course of action.
These Indian companies, including
SAIL, are among the 22 companies shortlisted by the
Afghanistan Ministry of Mines for grant of mining licenses at
Hajigak, which carries an estimated 1.8 billion tonnes of high
quality magnetite with 62-63% Fe content. The Afghanistan
government has indicated preference for companies which will
offer development plans from mining of iron ore to vertically
integrated processes, including making of steel.
At today’s meeting, the Indian
contenders for the Hajigak deposits discussed the major
concerns and identified the issues to be discussed with the
Afghan and Indian governments.
Among the main concerns are security issues, inhospitable
terrain, lack of infrastructure and skilled manpower, etc.
Issues such as local laws, tender terms & conditions,
infrastructure development, evacuation of ore, diplomatic
challenges, etc., were discussed in detail. The possibility of
forming consortiums to bid for the mining licenses was also
SAIL discussed the action plan of forming a consortium with
other major players for identification of possible synergies
and risk mitigation strategy through joint bidding. While the
other companies are more interested in mining of ore and its
evacuation, SAIL is keen to set up a steel plant in
Afghanistan, subject to the condition that the host country
provides infrastructural support and raw material sources.
SAIL Chairman Mr. C.S. Verma has already held discussions with
the Afghan Minister for Mines, Mr. Wahidullah Shahrani, in
this regard during the latter’s recent visit to India. The
Afghan government has responded with keen interest in the
proposal. “This will be an important milestone in SAIL’s
journey of becoming a global player,” said Mr. Verma.
The Hajigak iron ore deposits are located in the mountainous
Bamiyan province, 130 kms west of Kabul. Surveyed by Russian
geologists in the 1960s and thereafter by US agencies, the
deposits occur in 16 spreads. The Soviet resource/scoping
studies indicate that the ore deposit spreads are amenable to
open pit mining methods.
During the visit of the Indian companies to Hajigak, the
Afghanistan government put into place stringent security
measures to ensure the safety of the visitors. The Indian
Ambassador Shri Gautam Mukhopadhyay and Mr. Shahrani met the
Indian delegation separately and expressed their appreciation
at the interest shown by them in developing Hajigak.