An international gold mining powerhouse, Barrick Gold has inked four contracts for the exploration of gold, as well as other associated minerals, in the Eastern Desert region of Egypt. With the investment totalling around US$8.8 million, Barrick Gold is one of eleven companies granted 19 of the 82 exploration blocks within the country.
As Barrick Gold’s first Egyptian venture, the company is set to expand upon the country’s singular commercial gold mine and aims to make use of Egypt’s promising mineral wealth, of which the majority remains undeveloped, despite its rich reserves of metals and extensive mining history. A lack of mining activity has been put down to profit-sharing agreements and dated royalty systems, making it hard for potential miners to exploit the dense array of minerals Egypt is sitting upon.
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However, the requirement for miners to partner with the Egyptian government has been eliminated in a 2020 legislative overhaul, resulting in state royalties being limited up to 20% and Egyptian mining gradually becoming easier and more attractive to large mining corporations.
Interest is evident simply by looking at the attention garnered through the country’s recent series of gold bid rounds, which have successfully turned the heads of international mining giants and juniors alike.
“The move into Egypt is an integral part of Barrick’s exploration strategy. Barrick is a global company, and we evaluate opportunities anywhere we see the potential for world-class deposits capable of passing our investment filters,” says Barrick Senior Vice President exploration, Joel Holliday. “We believe that it is essential to move into prospective emerging and underexplored mineral belts to maintain the discovery rate as part of a balanced development strategy.”
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As part of the Proterozoic Arabian Nubian Shield, the Eastern Desert hosts the giant Sukari deposit and numerous other gold occurrences yet to see any systematic exploration. Barrick is keen to change this.
“The opportunity in Egypt is an exciting addition to our portfolio, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with the Egyptian government,” says President and CEO of Barrick Gold, Mark Bristow.
This year, Barrick Gold has focused its efforts on expanding its number of exploration projects, acquiring future positions in Japan, Guyana, Nevada, and Tanzania, and the company is only continuing to impress and excel.
Earlier this month, Barrick reported preliminary Q2 production of 1.04 million ounces of gold and 96 million pounds of copper, with gold production forecasted to be higher in the second half of 2021. The company claims to be “on course” to meet its 2021 production targets and is optimistic that its investment in the Egyptian desert will provide it with the tools to do so.