A minister said here on Friday the Zambian government would soon launch tenders for international firms to explore oil and gas which are discovered in Northwestern province late last year.

Mines and Mineral Development Minister Kalombo Mwansa said in a statement that those areas with potential oil and gas had been demarcated so that private firms could bid for specific blocks.

“The demarcated blocks are being published in the government gazette to invite bids from

interested companies,” the minister said.

Mwansa said the Zambian government would call for bids in the ” early part” of 2007.

The discovery of oil and gas was announced by Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa in late October last year.

According to the president, results of a study conducted by the experts from the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development proved that two districts in the province had oil and gas reserves.

In a geological study, 31 soil samples were collected from the area and sent to Germany for analysis and the micro-bio analysis showed that 12 sites were positive for oil while six were positive for gas.

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