Afghan govt, SAIL to ink concession pact in Jan

The Afghanistan government is likely to sign a concession agreement in January with SAIL-led Afghan Iron and Steel Consortium (AIFSCO), which plans to mine iron ore in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province.

"A delegation of SAIL will visit Afganistan in mid-December. All the remaining issues will be sorted then. The deal will be concluded after the cabinet clearance. The concession agreement will be signed in January 2013," Afghanistan mines minister Wahidullah Shahrani said on the sidelines of the International Mining & Machinery Conference organised by the CII.

He said for projects of such size delays are not unusual. The Afghan government has sorted out 90% of the issues and the finer details will be concluded in the next round of meeting.

The AFISCO consists of SAIL, NMDC and RINL and private sector JSW Steel, JSW Ispat, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd and Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd. The consortium had won three blocks at Hajigak iron ore mines in Afghanistan. But the Afghan mines ministry had said that AFISCO risks losing mining licenses in the country if it fails to meet production targets or fails to start mining within six months after the license is granted.

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