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Egypt signs protocol to regulate environmental approvals for mining projects

The government of Egypt has signed a cooperation protocol between the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) and the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) that aims at regulating the procedures for obtaining environmental approvals for research and mining activities.

Egypt’s Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad and Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla witnessed the signing ceremony which was done by EEAA’s CEO Ali Abu Sunna representing the Ministry of Environment in the deal, and EMRA’s Chairperson Khaled El Sheshtawy who represented the Petroleum Ministry.

The Minister of Environment said that the protocol aims to define environmental controls for mining search, extraction and exploitation, in addition to the basis for environmental auditing and control over mining activities, taking into account the nature of the areas where mining practices are carried out.

Green investment

She further pointed out that the signing of the protocol encourages green investment while preserving natural resources, explaining that the environmental impact assessment studies that will be submitted for mining projects will be discussed. The environmental approvals that will be approved will be continuously monitored and canceled in case of violation and non-compliance with what was agreed upon.

For his part, El-Molla stressed the importance of the current coordination and cooperation between the two ministries in the environmental aspects of mining projects and the exploitation of mineral wealth. He added that this cooperation will lead to adopting environmentally sustainable practices in this sector, stressing his belief on the importance of environmental compatibility and working in accordance with the environmental requirements in the environmental law, by adopting controls and technologies reinforced for that.

According to the protocol, the EMRA is obligated to coordinate and take the initial approval by the Environmental Affairs Agency before contracting or offering any bid for research and exploration for gold ore, and documenting and checking the coordinates provided for each site on the approved maps and the names of the areas listed on the approved cadastral maps to facilitate their review and to express an environmental opinion on it.

In addition, before starting the implementation of the works, an environmental impact assessment study should be presented for the exploration for gold ore in accordance with the standards and requirements stipulated in the environmental law and the decisions and guidelines issued by the EEAA.

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