Fikri Youssef, head of the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA), said Wednesday that it plans to issue an international tender in September to explore for gold in seven areas in Egypt's eastern desert and Marsa Alam regions in the south.
Youssef said that studies conducted by EMRA have confirmed the existence of gold deposits in these areas. Tenders will be open to Egyptian nationals and foreign investors provided 50% of production is allocated to Egypt, in addition to a 5% royalty.
Gold and copper mining in the eastern desert date back to the time of the Pharaos and the Roman occupation, and mining continued under British influence until 1958.
Companies active in Egypt include London and Toronto-listed Centamin (TSX:CEE) which operates the Sukari gold mine and Alexander Nubia (TSX-V:AAN), an explorer.
Centamin this week reported record output up 40% over last year at Sukari and the company said it is on track to produce 250,000 ounces this year at a cost of $565 an ounce. Sukari commenced production in 2009.
Also this week Alexander Nubia announced a new copper-gold porphyry/vein discovery and identified several new targets at its Abu Marawat concession.
In July Naguib Sawiris, an Egyptian mobile phone entrepreneur, paid $492 million for gold miner La Mancha Resources (TSE:LMA). In June La Mancha released "significant" results from its Hassaï property in Sudan.
Gold in Egypt is most associated with Nubia a region which straddles the border of Northern Sudan and Egypt. The Egyptian word for gold was “nbu,” derived from gold-rich Nubia – shown on the Turin Papyrus as a major gold producer in antiquity.
In ancient Egypt, gold was considered the flesh of the gods, especially that of the sun god Ra.