US mining company Sprott and mining group La Mancha intend to bid on Egypt's international gold mining tender this month, while Canada's Kinross Gold plans to make large investments in the country's mining sector, Egypt's oil ministry said.
Egypt will launch a tender for gold mining in the mineral-rich Eastern Desert in mid-March, with blocks planned to be awarded to bidders within four months.
The country passed a new mining law last year to encourage exploration and production. The law removes the requirement for mining companies to enter into joint ventures with the Egyptian government and sets a cap of 20 percent on state royalties.
Chairman of Sprott US holdings Rick Rule expressed his company's "desire to take part in the international gold exploration tender" during his meeting with Egypt's Oil Minister Tarek El-Molla, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The minister is holding talks with top executives from world mining firms on the sideline of an international mining conference in Toronto, Canada.
La Mancha Group, which is chaired by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, will also take part in the bidding round; it promised to "funnel large investments in mining in Egypt," the ministry added.
The oil minister discussed the details of the bidding round with La Mancha Executive Vice-President Vincent Benoit, and said that Egypt will carry out a seismic survey of 500,000 square kilometers in the Western Desert to "support future tenders " in the region.
This would be followed by continuous surveys of other areas with gold potential nationwide, he added.
Officials from Canadian-based miner Kinross Gold Corp also said they plan to put large investments into Egypt, and to make the county among its "top five priorities for its global investments in the coming years".