Afghanistan has called for investors to bid for a number of mining projects in the country in order to exploit $3tn in untapped mineral deposits.

Mining Minister Wahidullah Shahrani said the government will launch tenders in September for the Hajigak iron ore deposit, considered one of the largest unexploited iron ore deposits in Asia with 1.8 billion tons.

The Badakhstan gold deposit will be tendered later in 2010 and the Balkap copper deposit early next year.

A joint venture of China Metallurgical Group and Jiangxi Copper Corp, which already won the Aynak copper deposit, will spend $4bn to develop the mine and build a railway.

Shahrani reaffirmed the findings of the US Department of Defense that mineral deposits in the country, including copper, iron ore, gold and aluminium, are estimated to be worth $1tn-$3tn.

The Afghanistan Government said it expects to earn $3.5bn in revenue a year from the resource sector within 15 years.

Shahrani added that the Ministry of Mines has recently restructured and introduced new laws with a transparency initiative to make sure mining revenue is collected in an open manner, according to Reuters.