Gold majors aren’t doing a lot of exploration these days. With leading producer Newmont saying last month it is focusing on just three places globally for greenfields projects.
Two of those were Guyana and Utah. But Newmont said one other spot is particularly jumping out for its exploration teams — the underexplored climes of Ethiopia.
And news this week suggests that gold developers may be about to get a crack at some fresh ground nearby in North Africa. With one nation here about to launch its first tender for gold projects in seven years.
Egyptian officials told a conference on Monday that they will hold an international tender for gold mining concessions starting in early December. Putting up exploration and development projects across the country for bidding from foreign investors.
That’s a historic event for Egypt. Which hasn’t held a licensing round for gold projects since 2009.
And that could be a major opportunity for the global mining sector.
As the map below shows, Egypt (top right) is located at the western edge of the Arabian-Nubian Shield — a geologic terrain that also hosts the goldfields that Newmont is pursuing in Ethiopia. This shield also extends through Sudan, and has made that nation the third-largest gold producing country in Africa.
(Click to enlarge)
The Arabian-Nubian Shield (horizontal lines, top right) hosts major gold potential in North Africa
In fact, the Egyptian licensing round may represent one of the best entry points for new players into the Arabian-Nubian terrain. With projects in Ethiopia and Sudan having proved difficult to pull off, due to local politics and uncertainty around licensing.
Egypt already has one major gold mine as proof of concept — the Sukari mine, which hosts 13 million ounces of gold resource. Demonstrating the significant potential of deposits in this part of the world.
Officials were vague on what the terms of the tender might be — but we should get more details over the coming weeks. Watch for announcements on who’s bidding, what projects are offered, and how much they’re going to cost.
Here’s to something brand Nubian.
By Dave Forest
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