Egypt has discovered a gold deposit in its eastern desert containing over 1 million ounces of gold and a high extraction potential of 95 percent, the petroleum ministry announced on Tuesday.
The ministry said the deposit was discovered in the concession area of the state-owned Shalateen Mineral Resources Company, which is setting investments at more than $1 billion over the next 10 years.
“The discovery is the result of exclusive Egyptian investment into gold exploration and exploitation through Shalateen Mineral Resources Co and a successful partnership… between a number of the state’s sectors, including the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA), the military-owned National Service Products Organisation (NSPO), the National Investment Bank (NIB), and the Egyptian Company for Mineral Resources,” it said.
A joint venture between Shalateen Co and EMRA will be established to conduct exploration, making it the third company operating in the country to extract gold and minerals after the Sukari Gold Mining Company and Hammash Misr For Gold Mines, the ministry said.
The discovery comes amid a plan by the petroleum ministry to boost the sector to raise its contribution to domestic product, the ministry said, adding that a second phase of the plan will be implemented after the conclusion of the first phase, which is running from 2018 till the end of 2021.
Egypt is looking to attract foreign direct investments of $375 million to the sector in the next two years, increasing the forecast for direct investments from $700 million to $1 billion by 2030.
Egypt has said it will extend a deadline on bids for its international tender for gold exploration in the Eastern Desert until 15 September, after the round of bidding announced last March was interrupted by the coronavirus crisis.
Egypt is seeking to attract gold mining firms for its first major tender since 2017, which will cover an area of 56,000 square kilometers in the Eastern Desert, divided into several plots of around 170 square kilometers each.
This round is expected to be an opportunity for global miners to help develop the country's relatively untapped mineral wealth, after the government passed legislation to ease exploration rules to attract investors.