Major Indian steel firms are planning to bid for the Hajigak mine in Afghanistan, which is estimated to contain 1.8 billion tons of iron ore deposits, according to mining secretary Vijay Kumar.

The firms, including Tata, Essar, SAIL, Jindal and RINL, have expressed interest in bidding for the iron ore mine located in Bamiyan province, 130km west of Kabul.

“They may either bid jointly or may proceed independently as well,” Kumar told PTI news.

Mines Minister B K Handique said the ministry would help the firms collaborate with the Ministry of External Affairs for the proposed venture.

The Afghanistan Government recently invited an Expression of Interest to develop the mine.