Canadian firm Barrick Gold, Egypt-focused Centamin, and Naguib Sawiris’ La Mancha Resources are competing in Egypt’s international bid round for gold mining, which the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources announced last February, an anonymous source told Al Mal.

For its part, Barrick Gold, told Egypt Oil and Gas (EOG), “We are always reviewing opportunities that might deliver Tier 1 gold discoveries, however at the same time we do not comment on market speculation.”

From another part, Mark Campbell, CEO of Aton Resources franked to EOG, “We did not bid this time, though we would have liked to and had identified areas that we would have bid on, but our decision not to bid was operational and not linked to the bid round itself.”

Campbell elaborated that his company’s operations have been impacted by the COVID 19. In addition, Aton has exploration and development projects that need to be focused on “So we are currently working on restarting our exploration drilling program before the year end, as well as moving to develop a gold mine at Hamama,” Campbell added.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, launched in February the first international bid round for gold mining in 2020 to cover a total area of around 56,000-kilometer square in the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea through the duration between March 15 to July 15. Due to coronavirus, the ministry extended the closing time to September 15.