Egypt is set to open the highly anticipated first round of its first international gold and associated minerals tender in Sinai and the Eastern Desert on Sunday, the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) announced on Tuesday.
In an official statement, the EMRA said the upcoming bidding round would auction five designated exploration areas in Sinai and the Eastern Desert.
The authority said international mineral exploration and exploitation companies interested in bidding may contact the EMRA for the purchase of all documents needed for this round beginning Sunday.
The cost to purchase documents on the round's procedures, terms and conditions is set at USD 1,000. An additional $5,000 will be charged for documents containing detailed information and technical data for each of the five areas on offer.
This bidding round, which experienced several delays in 2016, is scheduled to end in mid-April 2017.
January's tender would be the first since 2009, according to petroleum minister Tarek El-Molla.
Molla said in November that Sukari mine, Egypt's sole gold-exporting mine owned by Australian company Centamin, had paid the government $40 million in profits and $80 million in concession fees since July 2016.
Centamin, the largest gold mine operator in Egypt, began operations in the country in 1995. Its principal asset is the Sukari Mine, a project begun in 2007 in the Red Sea city of Marsa Alam. The first gold bar was poured in 2009.
On Monday, Centamin said its preliminary total gold production for this quarter, estimated at 136,787 ounces, shows an eight percent decrease from the previous quarter.