Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla announced on Tuesday the start of the trial commercial production of the “Iqat” gold mine in southern Egypt.
The distinguished site has estimated reserves of about 1.2 million ounces of gold, with an extraction rate of 95% – one of the highest extraction rates.
Inspecting the progress and production stages at Iqat, the Minister says that the site is a pure Egyptian investment in the field of gold exploration and exploitation through the Shalateen Mineral Resource Company, representing successful partnerships and fruitful cooperation with the Egyptian private sector. He pointed out that Iqat gold mines company was established between Shalateen Mineral Resource Company, the Mineral Resources Authority, and the Wealth and Resources Mining Company are in charge of work in the exploration area,
El Molla added that the operation of the site is carried out by a group of Egyptian youth with skills and experience, following a system that includes some specialized international experts with them. He also pointed out that Iqat has become the third largest site in Egypt for gold and associated minerals extraction.
This is one among many steps achieved in the mining file. It is also one of the fruits of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources’ strategy to develop and modernize the promising mining sector to increase its contribution to GDP. This project and other similar mining projects also help with developing the communities where they are located. Amending the mining law and its executive regulations was the starting point. Then the financial and licensing systems were developed with the same target in mind.
El Molla stated that attracting more investment to this vital sector could be possible, especially after production kicks off. Moreover, the results of the global gold auction recently announced resulted in 11 international and local companies winning concession areas for research, exploration and exploitation of gold and other minerals.
The Minister of Petroleum inspected the progress of the work in Iqat and the gold production process, starting with drilling operations and rock transportation from Mount Iqat to the crushing unit, all the way to the stage of grinding and placing these rocks in the extraction basins in preparation for the smelting process, gold extraction and alloy production.
El Molla explained that the ministry has ambitious plans to increase production and research sites and mining exploration. This is expected to open the door for increasing more economic returns and providing better jobs by national companies that provide auxiliary services in the field of drilling, measuring equipment, shipping and transportation.
He pointed out that there are mines in the Iqat concession area, where research and exploration work is currently underway to increase reserves and production.
El Molla concluded by saying that alloys are currently produced and stamped by the Stamp and Scales Authority with the appropriate caliber for their quality. Additionally, the gold extracted from mines is stamped with the international code “9999” in preparation for its export, or to be used to increase Egypt’s gold reserves in cooperation with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).