Responding to news about the cancelation of a contract to develop the Hajigak mine, Daud Shah Sabah, the Minister of Mines and Petroleum, maintained on Monday that no contract was ever signed and that the Indian consortium leading the bidding process was always allowed to pull out of its bid.
In his press conference on Monday, Sabah emphasized that all natural resource contracting processes in the future would be handled more transparently.
"Unfortunately, over the past two nights, I have been hearing analysts talk about the contract. But there is no such contract," the minister said. "In 2010, the government of Afghanistan decided to put the Hajigak mine in Bamyan up for bidding, and two companies were selected."
Regarding another controversial mining project, the Aynak copper mine, Sabah assured that transparency would be pursued, if in part in order to avoid further confusion and misinformation about contracting. "The government of Afghanistan is obligated to publish all mining contracts so that the people of Afghanistan know what parties their representatives, as in the Ministry of Mines, have signed the contracts with," he said.
The minister stressed that greater transparency would mean all contracts would be practical and to the benefit of the Afghan people.
At the beginning of the week, Indian media reported the cancellation of an Indian consortium's agreement to develop the Hajigak mine project.
Some analysts have suggested the Indian consortium pulled out of the mine opportunity in response to the signing of an intelligence agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan a couple days prior. Others blame government mismanagement.