Indian consortium bids for Afghanistan's Hajigak Iron Ore Mines

A consortium of seven Indian steel and mining companies has made a bid for the vast Hajigak Iron Ore Mines in Afghanistan, a country that is considered the last frontier for minerals.

The consortium of state and private steel and mining companies led by Steel Authority Of India (SAIL) includes NMDC, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, JSW Steel, JSW Ispat, JSPL and Monnet Ispat has bid for all the four blocks at Hajigak offered by Afghanistan's ministry of mines (MoM), Afghanistan, while Ispat Alloys Ltd has bid independently.

The Indian consortium's bid was among the six bids that opened yesterday. The MoM is expected to announce the preferred and reserved bidders around 4 October 2011.

The other five bidders include US-based Acatac LLC's bid for three blocks, Iranian companies Behin-Sanate Diba and Gol-e-Gohar Iron Ore who have bid for all the four blocks and one block, respectively, Kilo Goldmines Ltd of Canada for one block and Ispat Alloys Ltd for one block.

Iran's Gol-e-Gohar Iron Ore is one of the country's largest iron ore producers while Behin-Sanate Diba is a privately run group comprising 10 investment, mining and industrial companies.

Toronto-based Kilo Goldmines is a Democratic Republic of Congo focused gold miner and Acatac is run by former Afghan industrialist Nasir Shansab, now based in Virginia. Acatac's sister company Mir Ltd is one of the oldest and most respected companies in Afghanistan, having handled various projects in the country on behalf of the World Bank, USAID, UN, Kabul Municipality and others.