Egypt Eyes New Mining Law to Attract Gold Investors


"The Eastern Desert, littered with pharaonic mines, a potentially lucrative source of gold."

Egypt is drafting new legislation to boost investment in its mining sector, a minister said in remarks published on Tuesday, as the country seeks to capitalize on renewed interest in gold mining in its Eastern Desert.

Pharaohs once dug up gold in the desert to gild amulets and sarcophagi, but the industry faded in the 20th century largely because of curbs on foreign investment imposed by President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Other changes to Egypt's mining code in 2008 renewed interest and attracted firms.

The Eastern Desert, littered with pharaonic mines, is now seen as a potentially lucrative source of gold.

Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Sameh Fahmy said his ministry had finished drafting a new law to encourage investment in mining and protect the country's resources from being wasted, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported.

The cabinet was reviewing the draft and will pass it along to parliament for ratification, Fahmy said.

The ministry has drafted a mining map locating 120 gold mines it believes were used by the pharaohs, he said, adding that more than 100 foreign firms had shown interest.

"We expect at least 50 international firms to be operating in Egypt in the coming period," Fahmy said.

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