International Business Times reports that the Afghan mining ministry is leaning heavily towards two state-owned Indian mining firms to develop the country's massive Hajigak iron ore mine:
"Afghanistan's minister of mines Wahidullah Shahrani said Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) and mineral giant NMDC Ltd. were leading the pack of overseas companies from Canada, US and Iran. A third Indian company, Ispat Alloys, was also included in the shortlist."
The article says a SAIL-led consortium has bid for all four Hajigak iron ore blocks, and that the Karzai-led government is giving preference to companies that could set up a steel plant. The contract is estimated to be worth some $6 billion.
A number of foreign companies have expressed interest in the mine, which is being touted by the Afghans as the world’s largest iron ore deposit with 1.8 billion tonnes. The deposit extends over 32 kilometres and covers 16 separate zones.