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Egypt started experimental production at ‘Iqat’ gold mine: Petroleum minister

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla announced that Egypt has started experimental production at the Iqat gold mine in the Eastern Desert in the south of Egypt, according to a ministry statement.

Minister El-Molla’s announcement came during his inspection of operations the site in the Shalateen concession area on Tuesday.

According to El-Molla, Iqat, which was discovered in 2020, holds about 1.2 million ounces of gold in reserves.

The extraction rate of gold from Iqat from the mine is 95 percent, one of the highest rates in the field, the minister said.

 Total investments over the next ten years at the mine is projected at more than $1 billion, according to earlier statements by the minister.

The exploration and mining operation at Iqat is a joint national venture between the state-owned Shalateen Mineral Resources Company and the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) in cooperation with the Egyptian private sector, the minister added.

Iqat is one of three gold mines in Egypt in production, he explained.

In 2022, Egypt’s first large-scale modern gold mine Sukari, which was established in 2009, celebrated its five millionth ounce of extracted gold.

A third company, Hammash Misr, a 50-50 joint venture between EMRA and Cyprus-registered Matz Holdings Ltd, also has gold mining operations in Egypt.

The 2020 amendments to the country’s mining law, which were enacted to meet developments in financial and licensing systems, have contributed to higher gold production and revenue, El-Molla said.

The amendments capped state royalties in mining to a maximum at 20 percent and eliminated a previous requirement on investors in the field to enter into joint ventures with the Egyptian government.

Currently, 11 international and local companies own concessions for gold exploration and exploitation in the country.

The ministry aims to increase exploration and production at all mining sites, noted El-Molla.

He stressed that this will create new jobs and increase gold for export as well as bolster the country’s gold reserves.

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