Cairo, Egypt — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 October 2010 – The government of Egypt is engaged in drafting new legislation to boost investment in its mining industry as the country seeks to capitalise on renewed interest in gold mining in its Eastern Desert.
History shows that Pharaohs once dug up gold in the desert, but the industry faded in the 20th century largely because of curbs on foreign investment imposed by President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Later changes to Egypt’s mining code in 2008 renewed interest, attracting firms such as Australian-based Centamin and Canadian mining company Nuinsco. The Eastern Desert is now seen as a potentially lucrative source of gold.
Petroleum and mineral resources minister Sameh Fahmy said his ministry had finished drafting a new law to encourage investment in mining and to protect the country’s resources from being wasted, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported. The cabinet was reviewing the draft and would pass it along to parliament for ratification, Fahmy added.
“The ministry has drafted a mining map locating 120 gold mines it believes were used by the Pharaohs,” he said, adding that more than 100 foreign firms had shown interest.
“We expect at least 50 international firms to be operating in Egypt in the coming period,” Fahmy predicted.