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19 February 2020
ECONOMY

Egypt set to float gold exploration tenders by March 2020

Centamin operates Egypt’s only active gold mine, Sukari, which opened in 2009 and produced 15 tonnes in 2019

The tender will be announced by early March 2020/Bloomberg

by Bloomberg

The Egyptian government will invite international gold-mining companies to take part in a new exploration tender after the North African country eased the rules to woo investors.

Egypt, whose mineral wealth remains largely under-explored and undeveloped, is hoping that gold production can be a future source of growth for its economy, which is emerging from a sweeping International Monetary Fund-backed reform programme.

Mining companies have long complained that Egypt’s system of royalties and profit-sharing agreements has made it difficult for them to explore and exploit minerals. In January 2020, the government introduced new regulations that limited levies and dropped the requirement that miners form joint ventures with the government in a bid to attract investor interests.

Vancouver-based miner Aton Resources secured mining rights last week, the first such award since Egypt’s main gold producer Centamin achieved a licence more than a decade ago. Aton says it has identified gold and base metal exploration targets in Abu Marawat.

Egypt had all but abandoned mining after its British rulers left in 1952. The pharaohs, the Romans and the British all dug in the mineral-rich Arabian-Nubian Shield area in the Eastern Desert, but they lacked equipment that could go deep enough to extract much gold. Centamin introduced modern open-pit mining to Egypt that helped to identify deep-lying resources.

The tender would be the first since 2017 when a bid round saw little appetite from investors due to its uncompetitive terms.

Acacia Consultants, which advises mining companies in Egypt, said the industry is anticipating the swift awarding of exploration licences under the new regulations.


RELATED STORIES: gold Egypt International Monetary Fund mining Aton Resources


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