Mining “cities” and Egypt’s first gold refinery coming soon -El Molla
Egypt plans to develop industrial mining “cities” for the extraction of gold, copper, and phosphate, Bloomberg Asharq quoted Oil Minister Tarek El Molla as saying yesterday at the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh. The zones would extract and process gold in the Eastern Desert, phosphates in the Western Desert, and copper in Sinai, El Molla reportedly said.
Marsa Alam to see our first gold refinery as part of the plan: El Molla said at the forum that work is underway to establish the country’s first accredited gold refinery in the Eastern Desert’s Marsa Alam, according to a ministry statement.
Gold worth USD 1 bn? The area housing the gold refinery is thought to hold more than 1 mn ounces of gold, the ministry announced in November. The deposit could be worth up to USD 1 bn if estimates are proven correct. The area has an average gold concentration of 1.5 grams per tonne of rock, according to El Molla. Iqat Gold Mining Company — a joint venture company set up by the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority and the military-owned Shalateen Mining Company — holds the concession.
The ministry aims for the mining sector to grow tenfold over the next two decades, which would ultimately see it contribute 5% to annual GDP, El Molla said.
The gov’t is working to expand the mining industry: Last year’s gold tender saw gold exploration licenses awarded to players including Sawiris-backed Altus Strategies subsidiary Akh Gold, Canada’s Lotus Gold, Egypt’s Ebdaa Gold, and the Mining and Manufacturing Company (MEDAF). The tender came following amendments to the Mineral Resources Act that Sawiris has said were “more favorable and more realistic and would attract foreign investments to the sector.”