Egypt greenlights new gold mine, first in over a decade

The camp at Aton Resources’ Abu Marawat gold property in Egypt, with an outcropping vein in the foreground. (Image courtesy of Aton Resources.)

Canada’s Aton Resources (TSX-V: AAN) became the first company in more than a decade to secure a gold mining licence in Egypt, which last year issued new regulations to ease foreign investment curbs in the sector.

The new rules eliminated the need for miners to form joint ventures with the Egyptian government and limits state royalties to a maximum 20%, measures long advocated by the private sector.

The company said the licence underscored the country’s new commitment to developing its exploration and mining sector

Aton’s permit is the second mining licence issue in Egypt since 2005, when Centamin (LON:CEY) (TSX:CEE) — the country’s main gold producer — was granted its licence for its Sukari mine.

Aton’s president and chief executive, Mark Campbell, said the licence is for 20 years, with the possibility of extending it for another 10 years. It allows the company to start the Hamama development as well as continuing exploration at Rodruin and other exploration targets within the Abu Marawat concession.

“It also underscores Egypt’s new commitment to developing its exploration and mining sector,” Campbell said. “Egypt is a country that has vast untapped mineral potential, not only in gold, but across all precious, base and industrial minerals.”

The country, which links northeast Africa with the Middle East, has targeted $700 million in new investments in the mining and energy sectors by 2030.

(With files from Reuters)