Egypt to launch int’l exploration tender for gold in March

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Tue, 25 Feb 2020 - 12:25 GMT

 FILE PHOTO: An employee sorts gold bars in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

FILE PHOTO: An employee sorts gold bars in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

CAIRO – 25 February 2020: Egypt will launch an international exploration tender for gold and other minerals such as copper and silver from 15 March to 15 July, Minister of petroleum Tarek El-Molla announced Tuesday.

Molla added that investors will be given the opportunity to bid on 320 blocks over an area of about 56,000 square kilometres in the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea, clarifying that each block will cover an area of 170 square kilometres, and the block will be administered under a tax and royalty scheme.

Earlier, the government made amendments to the mining law in a bid to attract investors to the mining sectors.

Mineral Resources Act amendments include setting up a new authority in charge of licensing mines and quarries, taking the power to issue and control licenses away from governorates. They would also lift a previous 16,000 sqm area limit, allowing the authority to issue licenses to areas of unlimited size. Licenses could also be renewed for more than one term.

Moreover, there will be separate contracts and agreements for exploration and extraction, and companies will have to pay a minimum royalty of 5 percentof annual production, with a 20 percent cap being set.

“Mining firms will have to pay 6 percent of a mine’s annual production to the home governorate. Governorates can recommend amending this 'rent' but a final say can only come from the prime minister. Under current legislation, governorates had the power to dictate the payout every four years,” according to the amendments.

Earlier, sources said that Egypt will announce its first exploration tender in about 3 years by March, in a move to explore its undeveloped and undiscovered mineral wealth.

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