Bidding for Egyptian gold mine to open next month

egyptmine glenross flickrEgypt will hold its first international tender for gold mining concessions since 2009 in early December, petroleum minister Tarek El Molla said at an economic conference

According to geologists, Egypt has mineral-rich territory that could be ripe for mining, but investors have said that commercial terms offered in previous tenders were unattractive and have kept the sector underdeveloped, Reuters has reported.

Last year, the Egyptian government said that it wanted mining to increase its contribution to GDP to more than five per cent from the less than one per cent currently.

Egypt, which has had to contend with a severe dollar shortage since tourists and investors fled after the country’s 2011 uprising, announced this year that it would hold a bidding round for new mining concessions but the tender has been delayed repeatedly.

El Molla said, “Centamin’s Sukari mine, Egypt’s sole gold-exporting mine, has paid the government US$40mn in profits and US$80mn in concession fees since last July.”

The December bidding round would be the first since 2009, when a global gold-mining boom brought a handful of first-time investors to Egypt despite what some said were poor commercial terms.

Most of these investors left after the 2011 political developments, driven away by growing political turmoil and falling global gold prices.

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