Gold ten­der draws lack­lus­ter re­sponse

Business monthly (Egypt) - - IN BRIEF -

While Egypt's gold-min­ing his­tory dates back to the Pharoahs, large tracts of desert land re­main un- or un­der­ex­plored. Prospec­tors pre­dict Egypt could be sit­ting on bil­lions worth of the rare metal; Cana­dian min­ing ex­ec­u­tive Mark Camp­bell called Egypt “a ge­o­log­i­cal Dis­ney­land” in re­marks to the As­so­ci­ated Press last year. De­spite this un­tapped po­ten­tial, com­pa­nies say the gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ment terms are driv­ing them away. On Jan. 15, Egypt in­vited gold min­ers to bid for ex­plo­ration li­censes un­der pro­duc­tion shar­ing agree­ments that grant the state half of any even­tual prof­its. Com­pa­nies wish­ing to par­tic­i­pate would have to pay thou­sands of dol­lars per block for terms and con­di­tions and tech­ni­cal data, as well as put up a $50,000 bond and de­tail an in­vest­ment plan. Win­ning com­pa­nies would also have to pay out mil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of bonuses and fork over cash for train­ing fees as well as roy­alty fees of 6 per­cent. Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of these terms, Egypt’s three ma­jor play­ers— Cen­tamin, Aton Re­sources, and Thani Stra­tex Re­sources—told Reuters they would not sub­mit bids. But as of press time, au­thor­i­ties said they had no in­ten­tion of al­ter­ing the terms. “For those who find the bid round suit­able for them un­der these terms, they are wel­come in Egypt. For those who don't find them suit­able, I don’t want to hear any­one’s ad­vice,” said min­ing au­thor­ity head Omar Teama.

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