The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) Chairman, C. S. Verma, on Tuesday said three public sector units and an equal number of private sector companies would form a consortium to submit the final bid for the Hajigak iron ore mines in Afgansitan.

“A consortium led by SAIL will put its final bid for the Hajigak mines that have reserves of around 1.8 billion tonnes. There will be three companies each from the public and the private sectors,” Mr. Verma told reporters on the sidelines of the ‘Steel summit' organised by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) here under the leadership of Assocham National Council on Iron and Steel chairperson Sminu Jindal.

The PSUs named included SAIL, NMDC and RINL. However, the names of the private sector companies were not known. Mr. Verma said, if the SAIL-led consortium wins the race, state-run companies would have a majority 52 per cent stake in the mine and the remaining would be with the private sector firms, not necessarily in equal proportion.

The Afghanistan Government recently extended the deadline for bidding to September 4 from August 2 fixed earlier. Apart from the SAIL-led consortium from the Indian side, there are three to four more, who have evinced interest to throw their hats in the ring.

Asked whether law and order problem could be an issue, Mr. Verma said: “The government of Afghanistan has already assured us that it will take care of it. It is a developing economy. Ultimately, growth will prevail over terrorism,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion Ms. Jindal, MD, Jindal SAW, said India had successfully achieved the rank of fourth largest producer in the world and all have to join hands to make it number one by 2020. “To attain the number one position we have to improve on issues like technology, energy, transportation and infrastructure which are creating hurdles in the growth of the industry. Efficient use of energy is the main concern as the steel industry has the highest consumption of energy which makes it important for us to adopt alternative green renewable sources of energy for steel production as well as augmentation of steel production,” she said.

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