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Sunday, 25 April 2021

Altus’ Akh Gold could invest USD 200 mn if it strikes gold in Egypt

Altus Strategies could invest as much as USD 200 mn in Egypt if it makes a commercially viable discovery in its new gold exploration concessions, Reuters reports. Akh Gold, a subsidiary of the Naguib Sawiris-backed company, landed four exploration licenses for nine blocks in the Eastern Desert in February and expects to spend several mn USD on exploration activities. The company will expand its technical team and conduct remote sensing and mapping operations in its concessions, it told the newswire. The UK-based company was awarded the licenses as part of a gold exploration tender the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) launched in March of last year which saw 82 exploration blocks given to 11 companies.

“Top-tier potential”: Egypt could become one of the continent’s gold hotspots should a few of the companies make commercial discoveries, Altus’ CEO Steven Poulton told Reuters. “If you get to a point where several discoveries are made, Egypt could be one of the largest gold producers in Africa … It had top-tier potential,” he said.

Does EMRA need to make more changes to its mining regs? Amendments to the Mineral Resources Act, approved in 2019, have received plenty of praise from investors for offering friendlier terms, including scrapping an unpopular royalty-sharing system. However, Nordana Chairman Sami El Raghy (Centamin’s founder and former chairman) suggests that continuing to rely on tenders for concessions “limits the chances of any gold boom,” and that “successful mining countries” operate on a first come, first served basis. According to Raghy, these countries set up a framework with qualification standards and investor rights, and investors pour in accordingly.

We’ll know soon enough: Oil Minister Tarek El Molla has said that Egypt will issue a new gold exploration tender every four months, but it is unclear when the next tender is scheduled to kick off.

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