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Monday, 13 May 2019

Egypt’s cabinet greenlights Mineral Resources Act amendments

LEGISLATION WATCH- Cabinet greenlights amendments to Mineral Resources Act: The Madbouly Cabinet has approved amendments to the Mineral Resources Act and will send the draft bill to the House of Representatives today, a source from the Oil Ministry told the local press. The proposed amendments will have to make it through House committee-level approval and be put up for a final vote before being signed into law by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

The changes will set up a new authority in charge of licensing mines and quarries, the source said, adding that the previous 16k sqm area limit would be lifted, allowing the authority to issue licenses to areas of unlimited size. The legislation would, if passed, allow licenses to be renewed for more than one term, while licenses would be revoked after six consecutive months of inactivity (rather than three). Mines and quarries licensed under the current legislation would remain valid and be subject to prior terms until renewal, the source noted. Among other clauses, the law would also include provisions to encourage the development of value-added industries that take advantage of the country’s mineral wealth.

We thought this package had already made it to the House: We noted late last year that the amendments — which have been praised by the industry for their promise to scrap the oil-and-gas-style production sharing agreement and move to a tax, rent and royalty model — had been sent to the House after receiving cabinet approval. Reading the coffee grinds, it seems a ministerial working group subsequently made changes after consultations with the Federation of Egyptian Industries and provincial governors.

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