Government officials and members of Khan Steel, a smelter in Kabul, laid the foundation stone for the second phase of the firm that will be completed within three months.
The company will invest $20 million in the project. By completion of the project, company officials said, the capacity of the firm will increase and it will create an additional 1,000 jobs.
The firm will produce up to 400 tons of steel in 24 hours after completion of its second phase which will be enough to replace 20 percent of imported steel, the officials said.
Government officials said the National Unity Government is committed to supporting the local industries.
“We are trying to balance our exports and imports. The National Unity Government, especially the president, has full commitment to stand the domestic industries on its own feet and will support them to develop,” said Mohammad Khan, the First Deputy of Chief Executive of the National Unity Government.
Khan Steel officials urged government to help them take part in extraction of Hajigak iron ore with Indian the consortium which is interested to invest in the project.
Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum Nargis Nehan meanwhile said they will help local factories to take part in Hajigak iron ore.
“The Indian consortium has been recognized as winner of the contract and they are interested in negotiations with us. During the negotiations, we will try to sign thecontact with the companies which have invested in iron production and discuss with them about the role they would play in this project,” said Nehan.
Iron melting factories process used iron as the only source of raw materials. Industry owners said this source will finish within the next two years and that if they do not gain access to a sustainable source, they will suffer heavy financial losses as their activities will stop.
Khan Steel officials said so far, they have invested $50 million in the factory and have 1,000 staff members.