Egypt opens gold assets to foreign companies, first time since 2009
Egypt will hold this Sunday its first international tender for gold mining concessions, most of which are located in Sinai and the Eastern Desert, the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) said.
In a statement quoted by Ahram Online, the body said the cost of participating in the bidding round, scheduled to end mid-April, is $1,000. An additional $5,000 will be charged for documents containing detailed information and technical data for each of the five areas up for grabs.
The precious metals-rich country, which has had to contend with a severe dollar shortage since tourists and investors fled after the country’s 2011 uprising, said last year that it would hold a bidding round for new mining concessions, the first one since 2009. But the tender was delayed multiple times.
Currently, Centamin (LON:CEY) (TSE:CEE) operates the country’s only active gold mine — Sukari. The firm’s shares more than doubled last year as production increased and gold prices rallied.
Canadian miner Alexander Nubia International has also a presence in the country’s Eastern Desert, about 800 kilometers (497 miles) southeast of Cairo. The Vancouver-based firm has been exploring in the region for year and it may open its first mine by 2019.
Gold could help Egypt boost exports and generate foreign reserves, but it’s now up to investors, who have complained in the past over the commercial terms offered in previous tenders, saying they were unattractive and the main reason the sector remains underdeveloped.