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Newmont Interested in Afghan Gold Mines, Minister Says

Newmont Mining Corp., the largest U.S. gold producer, has expressed interest in developing mines in Afghanistan, the country’s minister of mines said.

Newmont attended a conference held in London in June to promote the development of the country’s mineral resources and has been in contact with the Afghan government since then, Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani said in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York today.

Afghanistan expects to receive as much as $1.2 billion annually in revenue in five to seven years from iron ore, copper, gold, oil and gas deposits, rising to $3 billion to $3.5 billion after 10 to 15 years, Shahrani said. The government has talked to ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, and plans to hold discussions with London-based mining company Rio Tinto Group, he said in June.

Newmont, which is based in Greenwood Village, Colorado, operates mines in North and South America, Africa and Australia.

“They also expressed their interest in coming and investing in the gold mines of Afghanistan,” Shahrani said. “Since then, there has been some communication on getting some information from the government of Afghanistan.”

Omar Jabara, a spokesman for Newmont, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Afghanistan has put up an iron-ore deposit for tender and the deadline for submission of expressions of interest is Jan. 13, he said. Companies will submit final bids in June, Shahrani said. Afghanistan also expects to hold a tender for an oil deposit in March and a copper deposit next summer, he said.

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