November 13, 2017 / 3:00 PM / in 10 days

Egypt aims to finalise new gold mining contracts by end of 2017

ABU DHABI, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Egypt expects to finalise contracts by the end of the year with local and foreign companies which were awarded five gold mining concessions, the energy minister said on Monday.

Egypt began accepting bids in January for the five concessions, which were offered in the country’s first tender for new gold exploration since 2009.

Four firms, including two foreign companies, were awarded the five blocks in the Eastern Desert and the Sinai peninsula. They have been finalising terms since then.

“We did the awarding, but we are not done with the contracts. By year-end, we will finish that,” Energy Ministry Tarek El Molla said on the sidelines of an energy event in Abu Dhabi.

He said Egypt had no plan for offering further concessions until contracts for the first five were completed.

Egypt wants gold production to become a growth area for its economy, which has struggled since a 2011 uprising drove foreign investors and tourists away.

Although Egypt has a history of gold-mining stretching back to the era of the pharaohs, the country now has just one commercial gold mine, Centamin’s Sukari. (Reporting by Maha El Dahan; Writing by Arwa Gaballa; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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