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SAIL-led consortium to bid for Afghan copper

A consortium of six public and private companies, led by steel major SAIL, will bid for developing a copper deposit in war-torn Afghanistan this week. Hindustan Copper, National Aluminium Company (Nalco), Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL), Monnet Ispat and Energy and MECL are the other members of the consortium.

‘As on date, we are bidding for one copper deposit only. This will be submitted in next 2-3 days and depending upon the response, we will decide on bidding for other deposits also,’ Hindustan Copper’s Chairman Shakeel Ahmed told PTI.

Declining to name the mine, he said that the consortium is doing due diligence for four gold and copper deposits in the war-ravaged country.

According to industry sources, the consortium will bid for one more copper mine there during the second week of August.

SAIL, with 26 per cent stake, is leading the consortium, while Hindustan Copper and Nalco hold 25 per cent stake each. Private sector firms, JSPL and Monnet have 20 per cent and 4 per cent stake in the consortium respectively, while MECL has a token presence and has been brought in the consortium for its technical expertise, Ahmed said. Confirming company’s participation in the consortium, JSPL’s Vice Chairman Vikrant Gujral said, ‘It is step by step process, we are looking at long term prospects in Afghanistan.’

In April, the Hamid Karzai government had shortlisted 25 companies/consortia from the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, the UAE, Turkey and Afghanistan, besides India, for developing its gold and copper mines. The deposits being examined by the SAIL-led consortium includes gold and copper deposits at Zarkashan in Ghazn, at Badakhshan, and at Herat and Balkhab in Shaida districts of Afghanistan. Some time back, officials of the consortium had also visited the sites. Last year, a similar consortium of Indian private and public sector companies from the steel and mining sector, AFISCO, had successfully bid for developing Hajigak mines in the war-torn nation.
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