Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines is conducting an open tender for multiple exploration concessions that comprise the Hajigak iron deposit.

The tender process for three or more exploration concession blocks is expected to culminate in the granting of exploration concessions in late February 2011.

Hajigak is in the mountainous Bamiyan Province, 130km west of the capital Kabul. It has a Soviet-estimated resource base of about 1.8 billion tonnes at an estimated grade of 62% iron.

The resource occurs in 16 bodies, some of which are as much as 5km in length, 380 metres wide and more than 550 metres in depth, along a strike length more than 32km in length.

Previous Soviet resource/scoping studies indicate that the ore bodies are amenable to open pit mining methods.

The Ministry is interested in working with those companies what will commit to the exploration and development of Hajigak on an accelerated basis given that natural resources are a priority for the economic development of the country.

It is expected that following successful exploration of the concessions, mining licences will be granted. A phased approach to ultimate vertical integration of operations is preferred by the government. Preference will be given to development plans with expansion from iron mine/processing facilities with transport assets to vertically integrated processes including making steel.

Existing data about Hajigak and a detailed brochure is available online on the tender website, http://mom.gov.af, by clicking on the Hajigak tender link.

The deadline for expressions of interest is January 13, 2011.

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