The passing of a new mining law designed to support private investments and protect the interests of foreign investments in Afghanistan is holding up a deal between the Afghan government and a consortium led by the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL).

If all goes to plan, the consortium – Afghan Iron & Steel Consortium – will develop iron ore mines in the Hajigak region 100km west of Kabul where, it is estimated, there is 1.8 billion metric tonnes of iron ore.

Asif Rahimi, Afghanistan’s agriculture minister, said that his government was still keen to press ahead with the deal, despite the fact that it was initially offered two years ago.

The aforementioned new mining law has yet to be passed by the Afghanistan government. Should it go ahead, the US$11 billion project will represent the largest of its kind in the war-ravaged country and will include a 6Mt steel plant at Hajigak as well as roads and railways to link with potential markets.

The consortium is led by SAIL but also includes NMDC Ltd, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, JSW Steel, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd to name just six companies involved.

Rumours that the Chinese were also interested in Hajigak mining rights have been dismissed.

Source: Business Standard.