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India joins China bidding for Afghan mining riches

While Western mining multinationals are conspicuous in their absence from any bids for Afghanistan’s vast resources of copper and iron ore Tata Steel on Thursday joined other Indian steelmakers to bid for the Hajigak iron ore deposits 130km west of Kabul.

So far only China has made any firm commitment to the country’s mining sector with state-owned Metallurgical Corp’s successful $3.4bn bid to build a copper mine – and a $6bn railway to go with it – that should enter production in 2014.

Orbis reports:

While the Afghan government has called for global bids for mining the reserves for over a 30-year period, the consortium members feel that a bid that will go beyond just mining to some form of value addition and creation of more jobs in the war-ravaged country could have a better chance in the evaluation.

FT blog beyondbrics reports:

The Hajigak iron ore deposit is being touted by the Afghans as the world’s largest deposit with 1.8bn tonnes of iron ore. But this figure is at best an estimate and comes from Soviet scientists in the 1960s.

On Tuesday MINING.com reported on the prospects for Aghanistan’s resource sector which according to some calculations could be worth $3 trillion:

Afghanistan has grand plans for a vast rail network to attract mining investors, but experts say the project would simply be a new target for insurgents and warn that sovereign risk and high production costs are also deterring companies.