The Afghanistan Mines Minister Wahidullah Shahrani has said that the Hajigak iron ore deposit is open for tender as of today.
The iron ore deposit, located in central Afghanistan - about 100 km west of Kabul ýin Bamyan Province, is said to be one of the world's richest mines, possibly holding around 2 billion tonnes of high grade iron ore.
The deposit extends over 32 km and contains 16 separate zones, up to 5 km in length, 380m, wide and extending 550m down dip, seven of which have been studied in detail. The ore occurs in both primary and oxidised states.
Bids have been invited from international mining firms to develop the iron ore deposit. As per the Mines Minister Wahidullah Shahrani the mine would generate an annual U.S.$300 million in direct earnings for the government of Afghanistan. It would also generate about U.S.$1.5 billion in indirect income for Afghanistan.
Tenders for developing the same mine had been invited last year but the process was stalled due to allegations of corruption with the predecessor of Wahidullah Shahrani forced to resign due to the allegations. However most international mining firms so far have shown a reluctance to invest in the unstable and war torn country.