Egypt is positioning its mining sector as one of catalysts to revive an ailing economy.
Early next month, Egypt will be issuing its first gold mining tender in seven years, the country’s petroleum minister, Tarek El Molla, announced during an economic conference on the 14th of November in Cairo.
The country’s current interest in mining should not be surprising.
Due to the political instability which followed President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, the country’s economy has stagnated. Tourism, the country’s main source of revenue, has slowed down as dollar-laden tourists have stayed away. Investors, concerned about the safety of their capital, too have relocated to other countries.
The government has been looking for growth opportunities in sectors that had been abandoned during boom times. And mining has been identified as one of them. A report from Reuters says the country aims to increase the mining contribution from the current one percent to five percent.
However, the biggest snag might be the current commercial terms in tenders for mining concessions, which potential investors find unattractive.
As African Mining Brief Online reported three weeks ago, a review of policies which are meant to attract investment in the country’s unexplored natural resources, is underway.
Revised terms for investors will go a long way in unlocking the potential of Egypt’s mining sector. Molla demonstrated this when he mentioned that Centamin’s Sukari mine, Egypt’s sole gold-exporting mine, had paid the government $40-million in profits and $80-million in concession fees since last July.
Sourced from a report filed by Reuters and adapted for African Brief Online