Sawiris hopeful talks to buy stake in Egyptian mining firm to conclude in ‘few weeks’

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris said on Sunday he is hopeful that negotiations to acquire a 51 percent stake in the state-owned Shalateen mining company could conclude “over the next few weeks.”

“Reports about freezing the negotiations with the Egyptian government are groundless,” Sawiris told local newspaper Hapi.

“We are hopeful that the negotiations could conclude over the next few weeks,”

Sawiris, who chairs private gold mining group La Mancha, had said earlier this year that he intended to invest in gold and copper mining in Egypt if investment conditions improved. He announced the start of the talks with the Egyptian government in February.

Egypt in January issued new regulations that aimed to eliminate the need for mining companies to form joint ventures with the government and to limit state royalties to a maximum 20 percent.