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Egypt's Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla delivers a speech at the Mediterranean dialogues conference in Rome on Nov. 23, 2018.

Claudio Peri/The Associated Press

Egypt said on Wednesday it welcomed Endeavour Mining’s bid to takeover Centamin Plc, saying it would encourage foreign investment in the country’s mining industry.

Centamin rebuffed the 1.47 billion pound (US$1.9 billion) all-stock takeover proposal on Tuesday, saying it did not offer enough value to Centamin shareholders.

Centamin’s assets include Egypt’s Sukari mine and Cleopatra project, as well as exploration projects in West Africa.

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Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said in a statement the government had no role in the bid but added that “we welcome new investment by international companies in exploring gold and mineral wealth.”

He said the bid would “give a positive message about the desire of an international company to be present in Egypt ... and encourage other companies to come to Egypt.”

Egypt introduced a new mining law this year but has yet to publish the executive regulations. The government wants to unlock investment in Egypt’s mineral wealth, which has stalled under what explorers say are discouraging terms.

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