Hajigak Iron Ore
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India and Afghanistan have called off all talks on a proposed $11-billion iron-ore mining and steel mill project by a consortium of Indian metal companies. According to a senior government official, the Indian government, which had been supporting the Indian consortium through bi-lateral talks with the Afghan government, had decided that it would be futile to hold any further negotiations to push the project in view of spread of Taliban control close to the proposed iron ore reserves and steel mill site at Hajigak. (20151127)
Besides SAIL, other members of the consortium include state-owned NMDC and RINL and private sector steel players — JSW, JSW Ispat, Jindal Steel and Power, and Monnet Ispat and Energy. SAIL has the maximum 20 per cent stake in the venture, while NMDC and RINL hold 18 per cent each. Private players JSW Steel and JSPL hold 16 per cent each, while JSW Ispat and Monnet have 8 per cent and 4 per cent stakes respectively.
After winning bid for three iron ore mines at Hajigak in war-torn Afghanistan in November, 2011, AIFSCO had said it would invest $10.8 billion to set up a 6.1 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) steel plant in two equal phases along with an 800 MW power plant, besides creating necessary infrastructure.
However, later it scaled down its plans and decided to set up a steel plant of 1.25 mtpa and a 120 MW captive power plant with $2.9 billion investment. “Eventually, investment will be between $10 billion and $11 billion. It will be done in phases. Steel plant will be developed, based on our negotiation, in different phases, but eventually it will be of 7 mtpa size. But, for that they need to conduct the feasibility study. The final agreement with Afghanistan will be signed in a few weeks as the draft contract has been prepared,” Sharani said. Shahrani said the local government would also allow the SAIL-led consortium to market its products in the neighbouring region. Afghanistan’s annual steel demand now stands at 1-1.5 mtpa.
Afghanistan has conveyed to the SAIL-led consortium that it did not have any objections to the $10.8 billion iron ore and steel plant project being developed in phases. The Afghan Iron and Steel Consortium (AIFSCO), which consists of state-owned SAIL, RINL and NMDC, is holding a combined 56 per cent stake. The balance is held by private players such as JSW, JSPL and Monnet Ispat & Energy. “We have concluded negotiations over the entire deal. During negotiations, SAIL has assured us that it will deliver on its commitment but that would be done in phases,’’ Afghanistan’s Mines Minister Wahidullah Shahrani said.(20130822)
The consortium of Indian companies led by Steel Authority of India is seeking to renegotiate the terms of an iron ore deal in Afghanistan worth up to $10.8 billion, a senior official at the Ministry of Mines said on 20131029.
Investment in Afghanistan's mining sector is considered one of the greatest hopes of the country attaining economic independence and the halt will add to concern that it will not be able to support itself economically as aid flows shrink.
"The negotiations are suspended for some reason ... (but) they haven't withdrawn from this process," the official told Reuters, asking for his name to be withheld because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The Afghan official did not give a reason for the suspension, but the investment, at the Hajigak mine, is in the once peaceful province of Bamiyan where increasing insurgent attacks mean it is now only safely reachable by air.(20131029)