Companies that have submitted proposals include Canada’s Cancor Mines, Koyunoglu of Turkey, Citadel Resource Group, Terramin and Richmond Hill Resources, all of Australia; China’s Cecomines and China Geo Engineering
Corporation; London-based Pan-African Resources; and Cevital, Enof and Soalka, all local.

The most hotly contested licences cover the Ain Bougda and Kef Oum Tboul copper, zinc and lead concessions, for which six mining firms have submitted bids.

However, five sites – Djebel Aberraz, Bled el-Mass, Djebel Ichmoul, Tin Amzi and Rahmani – have only received one offer. It is unclear whether the bidding on each licence can proceed without additional competition.

Each prospect specifies the explor-ation for a specific mineral. Commodities stated in the bidding round include diamond, salt, iron, gold, beryl and fluorine. Once ANPM has completed technical evaluation of each concession, it will invite commercial bids, with awards made within three months.

Separately, Cancor Mines has won two prospecting concessions in the far south of Algeria. The Tan Chaffao permit, covering 445 square kilometers, covers the exploration of gold and copper. The In Ouzzal North concession covers the prospecting of gold over an area of more than 250 sq km.