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Sunday, 22 November 2020

11 companies awarded 82 gold exploration blocks in gov’t tender

The results of Egypt’s latest gold + mineral exploration auction are here: Eleven mining companies have been awarded 82 gold exploration blocks in the Eastern Desert under an Oil Ministry tender launched earlier this year, Minister Tarek El Molla said in a statement on Thursday. The winners include seven foreign firms: Canadian miners Barrick Gold, Lotus Gold and B2Gold, British firms Red Sea Resources, AKH Gold and SRK, and Australian gold miner and Sukkari operator Centamin. Four local firms also won: Mining and Manufacturing Company (MEDAF), North Africa Mining and Petroleum Company (NAMC), Al-Abadi, and Ebdaa for Gold Mining.

The companies will collectively spend at least USD 60 mn during the early stages, El Molla said.

Background: This is the first tender to be launched since amendments were made to the Mineral Resources Act which offer investors more attractive terms. The blocks have been awarded on two-year exploration licenses that can be renewed either two or three times depending on the circumstances. El Molla said earlier this year that a new gold exploration tender would be launched every four months, meaning that we could see a new tender in January.

New bid round to explore for mineral ores and other associated minerals: A fresh bid round to explore for 10 types of mineral across 208 blocks in the Eastern Desert kicked off on Thursday and is expected to continue until March 2021, El Molla said. The ores include iron, phosphates and copper.

INVESTMENT WATCH: Aton Resources will invest USD 7-8 mn in its Egypt operations during 2021, CEO of Egypt-focused miner Aton Resources Mark Campbell told Masrawy. The company — which owns the Abu Marawat concession in the Eastern Desert — made a pass on the latest tender in favor of focusing on its existing exploration operations, he told us earlier this year.

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