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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

La Mancha, Centamin, Barrick Gold among bidders in Egypt’s gold mining tender

La Mancha, Centamin, Barrick Gold among bidders in Egypt’s gold mining tender: Canadian mining firm Barrick Gold, Naguib Sawiris’ La Mancha, and Egypt-focused Centamin are among the companies that have submitted bids in the gold and mineral exploration tender, which closed last week, Al Mal reports. The Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority’s (EMRA) had launched in March the bid for the rights to mine 56k sqkm in the Eastern Desert. Barrick, La Mancha, Centamin, and “several other” companies are bidding on exploration licenses for 320 blocks under the block-based concession system. Exploration licenses will be issued for two years and eligible for renewal for two more, with the possibility of a third renewal in the event of technical difficulties.

Some major players decided to sit out the bid: Aton Resources decided against participating in this tender and to focus on exploration and development projects already underway, including its exploration in the Eastern Desert’s Hamama, CEO Mark Campbell told Enterprise. “We did not bid this time, though we would have liked to and had identified areas that we would have gone for, but our decision not to bid was operational and not linked to the bid round itself,”he said.

Should we expect a new tender in January? Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said earlier this year that a new gold exploration tender would be launched every four months, putting us on track to see a new tender launched in January.

Background: The tender was launched on 15 March and was expected to conclude on 15 July but EMRA extended the deadline until 15 September in June due to the pandemic. The government announced its intention to issue gold mining tenders every four months earlier this year. This was the first gold tender since 2017, and the first since the Mineral Resources Act was amended last year to provide more investment-friendly terms. Gold mine operators now pay 5% royalty, EGP 25K in rent per sq km each year, income tax of 22.5%, and 1% of the value of annual production to the governorate where the mine is located.

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