In the framework of Egypt’s strategy to enhance its mining sector and promote economic development, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources hosted the Egypt Mining Forum 2022 at the Ski Executive Resort on July 4th.
The forum was held under the theme ‘Putting Egypt on the International Mining and Minerals Map’ and was supported by the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA).
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla opened the forum virtually stating that “the reform and development witnessed by the mining sector in Egypt yield promising investment opportunities that international and local investors should seize as Egypt vies to turn into a global mining destination.”
The minister also encouraged investors to explore the potential of Egypt’s mining sector. “International companies should seize the opportunity to invest in the Shalateen Company’s concession areas to search for gold and minerals after achieving a distinct gold discovery, confirming the presence of gold reserves in these areas. This is in addition to the investment opportunities available in the Golden Triangle area,” El Molla said. “Investors should take advantage of the competitive elements available in the mining sector, as it possesses a distinct geological nature, many types of minerals as well as energy sources, distinguished mining cadres, and the infrastructure of roads and transport networks, airports, and ports overlooking two of the most important maritime trade routes.”
Developing Egypt’s Mining Sector
During the Egypt Mining Forum 2022, EMRA signed three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) for developing the Egyptian mining sector.
One of the signed MoUs was inked with the International Egyptian Oil Company (IEOC) affiliated with Italy’s Eni in order to cooperate in identifying and exploring available opportunities in metals that can be used in energy transition programs and clean energy projects such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite.
The second MoU was signed with the American Chamber of Commerce to cooperate in providing a number of training programs and building capabilities within the mining sector in order to support the sector’s Modernization project adopted by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
EMRA further signed an MoU with MSALAB company to develop the capabilities of EMRA’s employees in order to prepare them to check for gold and basic minerals in soil, rock, and excavation samples in Marsa Alam.
In addition to the exciting opportunities made possible by these MoUs, the Egypt Mining Forum featured an enriching and enlightening series of sessions and panel discussions, attended by some of the most widely renowned names in the industry.
Embarking on Gold Exploration Journey
In a panel discussion about ‘Transforming Egypt as a Progressive Investment Destination for Gold and Precious Stones,’ the Egypt Mining Forum gave room to industry leaders to discuss the role of the Egyptian government. Four mining leaders talked about what they are expecting from governments. The panel reviewed efforts for developing the mining sector to attract foreign investments in Egypt and expanding participation in gold mining bid rounds.
“There are three things that make a jurisdiction attractive… the geology has to be rough … the second thing we need to have is a stable regime …. Thirdly, we look at the official regime and the legal regime,” James Ferguson, Senior Vice President Tax and Treasury at Barrick Gold Corporation, explained what makes a country attractive for mining investments.
Meanwhile, Mike Cinnamond, Service Vice President of Finance at B2Gold Corporation agreed, highlighting that the operating companies need governments to provide security of properties, fiscal stability, and economic regime.
As the discussion progressed, speakers began to focus more on the mining market. Martin Horgan, Centamin’s CEO, viewed the mining market as a competition, advising Egypt to “sell itself” to attract investors, who will go where they believe is profitable for them. The session clarified the vision of investors and what encourages them to invest in Egypt, pointing to the efforts which include amending the necessary legislation, applying the systems prevailing globally in mining agreements, and integrating the advantages that Egypt possesses from huge mineral wealth and the availability of manpower and the necessary training for human capital.
Moreover, the panelists highlighted the attractive points of investing in Egypt, highlighting the tax royalties and concession agreements that state a 50%-50% profit-sharing partnership with the Egyptian public sector, represented in EMRA. In this regard, Horgan described the profit-sharing agreements with the Egyptian mining sector as “fantastic, very clear, unambiguous, and actually simple to manage.” Meanwhile, Cinnamond pointed out that the 50%-50% profit sharing agreements are “fair.”
In this regard, Mike Silver, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, at Lotus Gold Corporation, concluded the panel by encouraging investors saying that “now is the time” for partnerships in the Egyptian promising mining sector.
Enhancing Egypt’s Mining Prospects
The Egypt Mining Forum featured a keynote on Augmenting Mining Prospects in the Eastern Desert Region. The keynote was delivered by Ashraf El Amir, Chairman at Shalateen Mineral Resources Company, Tamer Fahmy, Vice Chairman at Eqat Gold Mines, and John Chisholm, Managing Director at Master Drilling.
The session discussed how the Shalateen Mineral Resources Company is working to transform the Eastern Desert region into a global mining destination, reflecting the potential of the Eastern Desert and offering insights into the plans of Shalateen Mineral Resources Company to further develop the region by leveraging international partnerships.
The speeches showcased the Shalateen Concession and what makes it interesting for miners. Shalateen has gold ore areas that are offered for investments, such as the Fatiri area, located 70 km to the west of Safaga city, and gold ore areas under exploration, such as the South Ilbah, operated by Afaq Mining Company.
Shalateen Concession is very attractive for investors seeking gold mining as it has numerous old working brownfields and optional relinquishments. It further enjoys customs exemptions. VAT exemptions, tax exemption for expats’ allowances; traveling expenses; accommodations allowances and benefits;…etc.
The distinguished speakers talked about the reasons behind establishing the Shalateen Mineral Resources Company, which include mineral ores exploration, legalizing local artisanal miners in South Egypt, exploiting old mines, and adding value to mineral ores.
Advancing Phosphate Supply
The second half of the forum started with a session, entitled ‘Advancing phosphate and Fertilizer Supply: Supporting the Global Quest for Agricultural Productivity’. The session discussed what Egypt can do to enhance its agricultural productivity by advancing phosphate and fertilizer production and what Egypt can add to expand the fertilizer business around the world and develop the production levels to meet global demands and also referring to the new investment opportunities available for the international investors.
Throughout this session, which was under the theme ‘The Golden Triangle Economic Zone: Investment Opportunities and Incentives for International Players’, professionals discussed how the Golden Triangle, an area that extends from the Nile Valley to the east coast and spreads across an area of 900 square kilometers, can create new investment opportunities. Experts discussed how a comprehensive study has been made to cover the area and finalize a master plan for its agricultural, industrial, and tourism development.
By offering a number of jobs along the Golden Triangle project, which is to be executed within the next five decades, a significant portion of the population will be attracted to areas in Upper Egypt.
Representing Golden Triangle Economic Zone, Mohamed abo El-Gheit, talked about the current global instability, global recession, the volatility of the stock market and energy prices, and more importantly, the lack of supply chain. This makes it the right time for global leaders, global industrial developers, and donors to start paying more attention and directing their industrial capacities towards creating more new communities specifically in the economic zone in order to create more jobs and increase sustainability and business continuity.
Airborne Surveillance for Mineral Exploration
During this session, Hany Hussein, Airborne Survey Project General Manager made a presentation, entitled ‘Next-Generation Air-Borne Surveying for Mineral Exploration’ to talk about helicopter-borne geophysical surveys and how they are the most effective and rapid means of evaluating mineral exploration.
“Given the large size of the targeted area and the nature of the research sector’s location, the ideal method to save time and cost is by using helicopters to carry out aerial geophysical surveys. This is in line with the directives of the Egyptian state to enhance efforts to develop the mining sector in Egypt in coordination with the state’s strategic development vision,” Hussein stated.
Petroleum Air Services (PAS) is an Egyptian joint stock company that operates in two methods simultaneously: contacting service and equipment providers to obtain data on equipment compatibility with PAS’ helicopter types and contacting mining companies to hold meetings with Petroleum Air services’ chairman and company representatives to explore methods to provide the service in Egypt.
Adding that PAS is trying in every way to offer innovative solutions with its partners to provide magnetic surveys at a competitive cost, especially in comparison to fixed-wing magnetic surveys that could be executed with low altitude and low speed leading to a higher resolution.
The “Exploring the Nubian Shield” seminar covered how Egypt is growing to be a big player in the non-precious metals trade and how the mineral-rich Nubian Shield can play a significant role in the global minerals trade in the years to come.
Mineral Fertilizer Encouraging Growth
At the last session “Mineral Fertilizer Encouraging Growth”, Secretary-General of the Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA), Raed Soub discussed how the AFA initiated the mineral fertilizer industry in Kuwait in 1975 and its entrance into the Egypt market in 1992 and how after three years from now the organization will be half a century old, covering all Arab countries that are using fertilizers.
He added that in three years they are planning to play a major role in Arab food security and sustainability, in addition to paying attention to climate change when it comes to green hydrogen and green ammonia.
Egypt Mining Forum successfully concluded as an occasion that effectively demonstrates that Egypt has a promising and encouraging investment climate for the mining industry and global investors, which will pave the way for further cooperation with mining leaders.