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India's iron deal with Afghanistan suspended

in Afghan Business

India's iron deal with Afghanistan suspended

hajigakThe USD 10.8 billion worth of iron ore deal between Afghan government and a consortium of Indian companies led by Steal Authority of India and Afghanistan (SAIL) has been suspended, according to reports.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior official of the Ministry of Mines did not give a reason for the suspension and said the contractors have not “withdrawn from the process”.

He believed the suspension could be due to the refusal of the Chinese to build the railway for the Aynak mine.

The Hajigak deposit contains an estimated 1.8 billion tons of ore, with an iron concentration of 62%, according to the ministry, basing its figures on a survey carried out in the 1960s.

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.

Afghanistan’s mining sector is considered to be the key driving factor of the economy after the withdrawal of foreign forces.

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