Afghanistan has begun accepting applications to explore and produce gold and copper in four areas, the country's Ministry of Mines said Tuesday.

The process is expected to result in granting mining agreements with associated exploration licenses and the requisite exploitation licenses.

The ministry, which did not disclose how long its tender process would be open, is using Canaccord Genuity, SRK Consulting and Mayer Brown as transaction advisors.

The projects are: Badakhshan in Badakhshan province, a gold prospect; Zarkashan in Ghazni province, a gold and copper prospect; Balkhab in Sar-I-Pul and Balkh provinces, a copper prospect; and Shaida in Herat province, a copper prospect.

The government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is undertaking a privatization and licensing program for four of its mineral prospects, the ministry said in a statement. 

The country has a favorable regulatory and fiscal regime designed in accordance with best practices, and has security in place in designated provinces. The country's rich mineral resources have the potential to transform the nation's economy and provide early investors with substantial upside.