Egypt awards exploration concessions to 11 international mining companies

Egypt’s Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla has announced that 82 exploration concessions have been awarded to 11 mining firms in an international bid round for mineral exploration.

Among the companies awarded concessions were Centamin, which already operates a gold mine in Southern Egypt, TSX-listed gold giants B2Gold and Barrick Gold, plus smaller private players Lotus Gold, Red Sea Resources and AKH Gold.

Centamin’s Sukari mine is Egypt’s only commercial gold mine at present, although the North African country is aiming to raise US$1 billion in investment for the mining sector and it has opened up a second bid round for gold and mineral exploration for the next four months, Molla said.

Sukari has produced over 4 million ounces of gold over the last 10 years, generating $1 billion in free cash flow for Centamin, along with significant stakeholder returns. The mine contributes up to $900 million a year to Egypt’s GDP.

In other gold news, analysts at Goldman Sachs have predicted that the gold price will rise to $2,300 per ounce in 2021, as the COVID-19 recession gives way to higher inflation. Spot gold has retracted to around $1,870 per ounce this week, following highs of $2,070 per ounce in August.