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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Egypt to launch international gold exploration tender by the beginning of March

Egypt to launch international gold exploration tender by the beginning of March: The government will launch an international gold exploration and mining tender for areas in the Eastern Desert by the end of this month or early March, Al Mal reports, citing an unnamed source. This will be the first mining tender since the Mineral Resources Act was amended last year and the first for gold exploration since 2017.

A litmus test for the Mineral Resources Act: Egypt’s last mining tender three years ago was met by lackluster investor appetite due to its uncompetitive commercial terms. Gold mines now will get more favorable terms under the executive regulations to the amended Mineral Resources Act, which will see mine owners paying the minimum 5% royalty on their annual production. The amendments have so far received praise from investors but the demand for concessions in the upcoming tender will be a better measure of the government’s reform efforts.

The industry as it currently stands: Centamin is currently the only company producing gold in Egypt from its Sukari mine, while Aton Resources and Thani Stratex Resources are still exploring concession areas but are yet to strike gold. Centamin achieved an 8% bump in production in 2019 (pdf) and plans to increase this figure by at least another 6% to 510k oz this year.

New mining exhibition in the pipeline: Separately, the sources said that the government is preparing for a new conference and exhibition with companies and investors in the mining sector to announce the bid and unveil the most recent developments in the sector before the end of the month. The government will also take part in a similar exhibition in Canada in March.

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