Egypt's first gold mining tender since 2009 set for early December

Reuters , Monday 14 Nov 2016

Tarek El Molla
File Photo:Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek el-Molla (AFP)

Egypt 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 on Monday.

Geologists say that 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.

Last year the government said it wanted mining to increase its contribution to GDP to more than 5 percent from the less than 1 percent 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.

Molla said that Centamin's Sukari mine, Egypt's sole gold-exporting mine, had paid the government $40 million in profits and $80 million 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 uprising, driven away by growing political turmoil and falling global gold prices.

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