CAIRO: Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sameh Fahmi signed two agreements this week ¬- on behalf of the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (Emra) – with Russian SMW Company for the exploration and utilization of gold and associated minerals in the Eastern Desert Region.
The agreement’s minimum expenditure will reach $12 million in research areas of 1,850 square kilometer. The first agreement is at Um Balad in an area of 900 square kilometers, with investments of $6 million, and the second agreement is at Al-Fawakheer in an area of 950 square kilometers, with investments of $6 million.
The ministry’s strategy is to intensify its efforts in gold production and exploration. Commercial production of Egyptian gold from Hemsh mine in the Eastern Desert will start before the end of this year.
“This comes as a result of the positive results achieved by the gold exploration agreements signed during the past few years that were a result of the first international bid-round offered by the Emra, Fahmi said at the signing ceremony.
Efforts are also being made to produce gold from the Sukkary mine during the coming year. “Due to the promising news we are receiving we are offering a new bid round for gold exploration in eight new blocks, the minister’s office said.
Fahmi announced during the Euromoney Conference in September that Egypt will produce its first gold alloy in November.
“Domestic gold production will contribute to the country’s economic growth and, in the long run, will raise the standard of living, the minister’s office said.
The Eastern Desert is expected to be rich in gold and mineral resources. Six exploration agreements over an area of 6,800 square kilometers with Canadian and Russian companies were signed previously, with total investments of $29 million.
“We are expecting good news soon, and are confident that we will meet our strategic plans, the minister’s office said.