Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, said 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 seven international companies and four local companies.
Among the winning companies, Australian Centamin, Canadian companies Barrick Gold, B. Gold, Lotus Gold, Red.C Resources, Egyptian Medaf, Abadi Mining, North Africa Mining and Nubia Mining, and Ebdaa Four Gold.
The auction included 320 sectors with a total area of 56 thousand square kilometers.
The minister said during the press conference that the companies won exploration in 82 sectors, equivalent to 28 percent of the sectors that were offered for auction.
It is believed that the eastern desert of Egypt is rich in gold, but regulatory complications and obstacles prevented decades from opening it 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 until four months ending on March 15, 2021.
Egypt had in 2019 enacted a new mining law in an effort to encourage mineral exploration and production.
The ministry said in a press release issued later today that the bidding had been submitted by 17 international and local companies, and that the investment commitment amounted to a minimum of $ 60 million in the initial research stages. (Reuters)
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