Authorities ‘not reluctant’ to confront illegal mining: Mehleb

Ibrahim Mehleb, presidential adviser for national and strategic projects, said authorities will not be reluctant to take measures against the illegal and random excavation of raw gold in the Eastern Desert and southern Egypt.

In remarks on the sidelines of his visit to the gold mine at al-Fawakheer in the Red Sea, Mehleb said the government is paying attention to economic projects that will help improve citizens' lives, support the economy and establish new urban societies, The government is keen to improve the conditions of Egyptian workers in the mining industry.

The mining industry, according to Mehleb, is considered one of main projects supported by the government through reform measures. He indicated President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s ratification of the new mineral wealth law. “Egypt is rich in mining resources which are being worked on so as to fully utilise them,” he said

Sisi's top advisors arrived at Marsa Alam airport on Monday afternoon for a two-day visit to inspect the gold-rich areas in the Eastern Desert after several reports of illegal gold excavation.

Last month, the government launched its first international tender for gold mining concessions in eight years. The new exploration round offers five concession areas in the Eastern Desert and Sinai.

In Egypt's mineral-rich Eastern Desert alone, some exploration companies estimate potential gold reserves could be higher than 300 tons, although the government declines to give any estimate.

Even though it has a history of gold-mining stretching back to the pharaohs, nowadays Egypt only has a single commercial gold mine, Centamin's Sukari, which produced 551,036 ounces last year.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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