Egypt awards 4 companies, including Sawiris-backed AKH Gold, concessions in mining bid round

Egypt has on Wednesday awarded 17 exploration blocks to four companies in an international bid round for gold exploration.

The contracts will see total investments worth $11.2 million.

Aiming to allure investor interest, Egypt introduced in 2020 new regulations that limited levies and dropped the requirement that miners form joint ventures with the government. The new rules provide a strong push and incentives to international and local companies to join the bid round announced last year.

Billionaire Sawiris joins Egypt’s gold rush

Among the companies awarded concessions were AKH Gold, a subsidiary of Altus Strategies Plc, which is backed by billionaire Naguib Sawiris. The company signed four contracts for exploring nine blocks of Egypt’s gold-rich eastern desert. The deals will see AKH investing about $4.1 million.

Sawiris’s interest exploring for gold is a “good sign for other investors to join, especially with the great deal of experience his companies have in mining in many countries of the world,” the Egyptian ministry said in a statement, quoting Oil Minister Tarek al-Molla as saying.

Other three winners

Egypt has also signed three contracts with Canada’s Red Sea resources to explore five blocks. Under the contracts, the Canadian company will invest up to $5.5 million.

Moreover, Egypt signed three contracts, two with North Africa Mining and Petroleum Co. (NAMC) to explore two blocks, and one with Al-Abadi Mining Company to explore one block. The contracts will see NAMC and Al-Abadi investing around $1 million and $636,000, respectively.