Billionaire Sawiris Hopes to Join Egypt Gold Rush as Rules Eased – by Mirette Magdy and Salma El Wardany (Bloomberg News – February 18, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — One of Egypt’s richest men has long coveted a role in his nation’s gold-mining industry. Now, a shakeup in regulations and a potential auction of new licenses could give Naguib Sawiris a shining opportunity.

The Egyptian government “already started talks with us as well as other companies to promote the new tender,” Sawiris, the chairman of La Mancha Holding S.a.r.l., said in a phone interview. “We are willing to participate in any area that could be promising.” He didn’t specify which of the firms he’s involved with would submit bids.

The North African country, where the mineral wealth remains largely under-explored and undeveloped, will announce its first exploration tender in about three years by March, according to a person with direct knowledge of the plans.

It’s Egypt’s latest drive to spur investment in the sector, after enacting rules last month that limit royalty payments and drop the requirement that miners form joint ventures with the government — steps foreign companies have long complained about.

Ramping up gold output would be a future source of growth for the economy, which is emerging from a sweeping International Monetary Fund-backed reform program.

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