Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is leading to form a consortium of 15 Indian mining and steel companies to make foray into the iron ore mines sector in Afghanistan.

SAIL held a conclave of the contenders for the Hajigak deposits in Afghanistan to discuss the major concerns and identified the issues to be discussed with the Afghan and Indian governments, according to a SAIL statement here.

SAIL Chairman C. S. Verma said the group had time until August to submit bids. He also said that SAIL was interested in building a steel plant in Afghanistan provided the local government was able to provide the necessary infrastructure.

According to estimates, the mine should be good to produce up to 1 billion tonnes of steel, he added.

The Hajigak deposits, located in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province, 130 km west of Kabul, hold 1.3 billion tonnes of iron ore.

During a recent visit to India, Afghanistan's Mines Minister Wahidullah Shahrani had projected these mines as investment destination for Indian companies. Officials said a couple of consortiums could be formed to bid for the Hajigak mine. This would ensure higher chance of getting the mine to India. One consortium is likely to be led by SAIL and the other by NMDC, they added. Among the main concerns are security issues, inhospitable terrain, lack of infrastructure and skilled manpower.

Keywords: SAILAfghan mines

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