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Egypt finalises mining terms with UK and Canadian firms

Egypt minister Egyptian Petroleum Ministry
Petroleum minister Tarek El Molla says procedures are underway to submit the agreement for approval

Egypt has signed agreements with UK-listed Centamin Plc and Canada’s Barrick Gold Corporation on the commercial, fiscal and legal terms for mining gold and associated minerals across several concession blocks awarded to them two years ago.

All legal procedures are underway to submit the agreement to the authorities for approval, said Tarek El Molla, minister of petroleum and mineral resources. 

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Centamin said that the model of minerals exploitation agreement (MMEA) sets out the legal and fiscal framework that will apply to commercial discoveries made on the highly prospective 3,000 sq km of ground.

The concession was awarded to Centamin in 2021 for exploration in the eastern desert of Egypt.

Centamin CEO Martin Horgan said: “The MMEA provides a clear regulatory and fiscal framework that fairly balances risk and reward while providing a stable operating environment required by the international mining community and its investors.”

The agreement will apply to Centamin’s three EDX blocks (Nugrus, Um Rus and Najd) and will take effect once the Egyptian parliamentary approval is granted. 

Under the MMEA, exploitation licenses will be issued for 30 years, with the company paying 22.5 percent corporate tax and 15 percent government financial net profit interest.

Centamin said the MMEA does not apply to the 160 sq km Sukari Gold Mine mining concession, which operates independently under the Sukari concession agreement.

El Molla said earlier that Egypt would issue tenders for mining precious and basic metals between July and September 2023.

A report in April by Fitch Solutions said Egypt produced 9.8 million tonnes of steel, making it the largest steel producer in Africa and the second largest in the Mena region in 2022.

In June last year, Egypt awarded eight gold and metal mining exploration licences in its eastern desert region to attract $40 billion in private investment in the next four years.

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