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SAIL to appoint consultants for Afghan mines

SAIL, consortium, iron ore mines, Hajigak, Afghanistan, power plant, infrastructure, NMDC, RINL. JSW Steel, JSW Ispat, Jindal steel & Power, Monnet Ispat & Energy
The SAIL-led consortium which won the rights to develop three iron ore mines at Hajigak in Afghanistan will soon appoint consultants for carrying out due diligence on areas like investment and legal matters.
"We have decided to appoint consultants on various areas like investment and legal among others," said Steel Authority of India Chairman C S Verma.
Afghan Iron & Steel Consortium (AIFSCO), the consortium of seven Indian firms, recently secured the right to explore B, C and D blocks of the Hajigak mine in Afghanistan. Cumulative reserves of the blocks are estimated to be around 1.28 billion tonne.
Since AIFSCO is a non-government entity, it could bypass the tedious tendering process for engaging the consultants and instead could rope in the best available in the business on invitation. On the US$11 billion investments in Afghanistan, Verma said there was no disagreement among members on the issue.
The proposed investment includes setting up of a six million tonne per annum steel plant in two equal phases, a 1,000 MW power plant and development of the required infrastructure. "Infact, we are very bullish on the venture," Verma said.
The consortium plans to spend over US$1.3 billion to build 200 Km each of rail, road and transmission lines to connect the mines to the proposed steel plant. This will be after the Afghanistan government make available mines for coking coal and limestones to feed the facility.
An US$7.8 billion has been earmarked for the setting up of the steel plant. The coal-fired power plant would cost US$1 billion. Apart from this, the consortium has earmarked US$470 million investment on mining development and US$75 million for carrying out the detailed exploration of the mines.
The immediate plan of the consortium is to carry out a geological study of the mines over a three-year period. The consortium members include three state-run firms SAIL, NMDC and RINL. JSW Steel, JSW Ispat, Jindal steel & Power and Monnet Ispat & Energy are in the consortium representing the private sector.

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