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Egypt grants new mining exploration licences to foreign entities

The government of Egypt awarded eight new licences to foreign companies for gold and metal mining exploration in the Eastern Desert region.

The licences, which follow a tender process that closed in June 2021, were secured by Lotus Gold, AKH Gold, Marine Logistics Gold Mining and Ankh Resources. About 13-15 companies participated in the tender process, stated Reuters citing officials in companies that participated in the tender.

Foreign capital

The six-year licences form part of the country’s efforts to lure foreign capital and open untapped resources. Egypt, despite holding abundant reserves, has only one commercial gold mine – Sukari mine that is operated by Australia’s Centamin.

Mining activity in the country was hampered due to the government’s old profit-sharing deals and royalties, making mineral exploration and exploitation unprofitable for miners. In 2020, the government announced a legislative overhaul limiting maximum state royalties to 20%. It also eliminated the need for miners to form joint ventures with the government.

The country aims to invest up to US $1billion in its mining and energy sectors by the end of this decade, Egypt also aims to attract private investment of $40bn over the next four years. In November 2020, Egypt awarded exploration blocks in an international bid round to companies in a bid to explore gold in the country’s Eastern Desert. Some of the selected companies included B2Gold, Barrick Gold, Lotus Gold, Red Sea resources, Centamin and AKH Gold.

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