Egypt began the trial period for the production of gold from the site of Iqat located in the Eastern Desert, according to a statement on March 21 by the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla.
Holding about 1.2 million ounces of gold in reserves, the site was reportedly discovered in 2020, Ahram reported.
At a 95% extraction rate, appraised as one of the highest rates, the mining will be done through the state-owned Shalateen company as well as the Egyptian Mineral Resource Authority (EMRA) in collaboration with the private sector, as per Egypt Oil & Gas.
The project’s initial investment is valued at $1 billion for a period of 10 years.
Egypt is working towards increasing production sites and exploration sites in a bid to promote gold mining and establish it as a source of economic return. This is in addition to increasing employment opportunities, the statement clarifies.
Sukari gold mine
Prior to the Iqat gold mine, the most famously known one in production was the Sukari gold mine operated by established gold producer, Cetamin in partnership with the Egyptian Mineral Resource Authority (EMRA). Considered the first modern mine in Egypt, Sukari, produced its five millionth ounce of gold in 2022, as per the official website. With an estimated 14 years of production, the mine was discovered in the 1990s with production beginning in 2009. In terms of resources, it has an estimated 11.11 ounces of gold.
As of 2022, the Sukari mine was registered as contributing an annual of $900 million dollars to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Alterations to mining laws within the country, done in 2020, have been a driver in the increase of production and revenue in the gold mining sector. The new regulations have waived the requirement for mining companies to create joint ventures with the government, as well as put a cap on state royalties at 20%, as per the online magazine covering the global mining and metals industry, Mining.com.
In 2021, Egypt generated 12,920 metric tons of gold with the production reaching its apex in 2017, at 17,140 metric tons, as per Statista.
In 2022, 11 companies were allotted about 82 exploration blocks by the North-African country; 7 of these were international enterprises, according to an article published in November 2022 by Mining Technology.
At a glance
Gold mining in the North-African country can be traced back to ancient times with the first gold mines recorded in the early dynastic period. These were found in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. However, extraction reached fruition in the New Kingdom, which is identified between the 18th and 20th dynasties, according to Egypt Oil & Gas.