FILE - Black Sand in Egypt's Delta – Wikimedia/Shaaban Ghanem
CAIRO- 10 July 2019:Minister of Electricity and Renewable Mohamed Shaker launched Tuesday the first phase of the separation and extraction of minerals from black sand in Rashid (Rosetta), a port city of the Nile Deltalocated 65 km east of Alexandria, in Beheira governorate.
According to a statement issued by the ministry, the head of the Egyptian Nuclear Materials Authority said the first phase consists of three units for extraction and concentration, in addition to two magnetic separation units with an annual output capacity of 31,000 tons.
In January 2019, the Parliament approved a draft law authorizing cooperation between the Electricity Ministry and specialized local bodies to benefit from Egypt's black sand and extract a number of economic minerals, considering it a real investment in renewable energy.
The draft law, sent by the Cabinet and approved by the Parliament, allows cooperation between Electricity Minister Shaker, the Cairo-based Nuclear Materials Authority and the Egyptian Black Sand Company (EBSC).
An official source said that Rashid has the largest reserves of black sand, with 500 million cubic meters, pointing out that the Egyptian sand deposits represent the largest reserves in the world, as they spread along areas on the Mediterranean coast.
The Rashid Beach area is the second region where the extraction process occurs after the coast of Baltim in Kafr el-Sheikh.
Black sand is found in many areas in Egypt, such as the coastal plain on both sides of Rashid and Damietta sub-districts, east of Bugaz, Borouloslake, and the coastal plain extending from the east of Lake Bardawil to the city of al-Arish in northern Sinai.
Furthermore, black sand is of great economic importance because it contains a large percentage of metals that can provide Egypt with an economic return of millions of dollars annually.
The former media advisor, Ahmed El Meslmani said that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are major Arab countries with black sands. Egypt has the largest reserves in the world of minerals found in the black sand, estimated at more than one billion cubic meters,he added.
He also said that the black sand contains about 41 very expensive metal used in very many industries such as rocket industry, aircraft industry, ceramics, paints and nuclear radiation materials.
Due to this economic importance, the Armed Forces signed a contract in May 2018 to start the project of separating economic minerals from the black sand in Egypt with the Egyptian Black Sand Company, an Egyptian joint stock company.
In the same context, the latest feasibility study by Roche of Australia showed that the economic return from only one of the 11 sites will amount to more than LE 255 million a year(more than $46.5 million), according to Masrawy website.
Black sand is heavy black sediment that accumulates on some beaches near the estuaries of the great rivers. It is named so because of its dark color. It contains many heavy metals such as iron. It also contains a small percentage of radioactive metals, and contains a high proportion of titanium, which is involved in the manufacture of missile structures and high-altitude aircraft.
It is also extracted from the high-quality black sand, Elmeneet, used in the dyeing and packaging of oil underground pipelines.