Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla said today, Thursday, that 11 international and local companies won a global bid to explore for gold and associated minerals – copper and silver – in the eastern desert in Egypt.
The minister – whose country is targeting $ 1 billion in investment in the mining sector annually – added in a press conference at the ministry’s headquarters in Cairo that the companies include 7 international companies and 4 local companies.
Among the winners are Australia’s Centamin, Canadian companies, Barrick Gold, B2Gold, Lotus Gold, Red Sea Resources, Egyptian Medaf and Abadi Mining, North Africa Mining and Nubia Mines, and Creativity Four Gold. .
The bid was for 320 sectors with a total area of 56,000 square kilometers.
The minister said during the press conference that the companies won prospecting in 82 sectors, equivalent to 28% of the sectors that were offered for auction.
The eastern desert of Egypt is believed to be rich in gold, but regulatory complications and obstacles for decades prevented it from being opened to private investment.
Al-Mulla added that a second round of global bidding will be opened to explore for gold and other minerals and ores such as phosphates and iron, from today to 4 months ending on March 15, 2021.
In 2019, Egypt enacted a new mining law, in an effort to encourage mineral exploration and production.
Egypt has large mineral resources, the largest of which is the Sukari gold mine, and there are more than 120 gold mines, most of them in the Eastern Desert, in addition to 3,000 quarries, 40% of them in the Red Sea, 20% in Upper Egypt, and 15% on the Gulf of Suez, according to local studies.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources said today that negotiations with Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris to acquire the Shalateen Mineral Resources Company have now stopped.
Sawiris was negotiating early this year to acquire 51% of Shalateen Mineral Resources Company, as part of his efforts to enter the field of gold extraction in Egypt.
The Egyptian General Authority for Mineral Resources owns 35% of the company, the National Service Projects Organization of the Ministry of Defense holds 34%, the National Investment Bank 24% and the Egyptian Company for Wealth 7%.