Major Indian steel firms are planning to bid for Hajigak Mine in Afghanistan, which is estimated to contain 1.8 billion tonnes of iron ore deposits, according to Indian Mines Secretary Vijay Kumar.

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

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

Indian Mines Minister BK Handique said the ministry would extend all the required support to these firms in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs for the proposed venture.

The Afghanistan Government has invited an expression of interest to develop Hajigak Mine, which is a part of the country’s huge proven reserves and worth an estimated $3trn.