The zones would extract and process gold in the Eastern Desert, phosphates in the Western Desert, and copper in Sinai, he said.
The ministry is working to establish a state-of-the-art certified gold refinery in Mersa Alam, south of the Eastern Desert, el Molla noted.
Egypt mining cities
Establishing the new refinery aims at maximizing the added value from gold resources. It also aims at increasing economic returns from gold production within the mine-to-market value chain.
The area housing the gold refinery is thought to hold more than 1 million ounces of gold. The deposit could be worth up to 1 billion dollars if estimates are proven correct. The area has an average gold concentration of 1.5 grams per ton of rock.
Iqat Gold Mining Company, a joint venture company set up by the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority and the military-owned Shalateen Mining Company, holds the concession.
The ministry aims for the mining sector to grow tenfold over the next two decades. This would ultimately see it contribute 5% to annual gross domestic product (GDP).
Egypt targets a 5.7% gross domestic product growth in fiscal year 2022/2023 (which runs from July 1) to record 6% in fiscal year 2024/2025, according to Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait.
This target would surpass the country’s pre-pandemic growth level of 5.6% in fiscal year 2019/2020, Maait said.
The government wants to increase the budget’s initial surplus to reach two percent, up from 1.5% targeted in the fiscal year 2021/2022.
It also aims to bring down the overall budget deficit to 6.1% in fiscal year 2022/2023, with an objective of decreasing this rate to reach 5.1% in fiscal year 2024/2025.
Maait further noted that government targets decreasing the gross debt to GDP ratio to below 90% in fiscal year 2022/2023, and down to 82.5% by the end of fiscal year 2024/2025.
The government also aims at lowering the debt service to less than 30% of the total budget expenditure in fiscal year 2022/2023.
Owing to the coronavirus breakout, Egypt’s gross debt jumped to exceed 91% of the GDP in fiscal year 2021/2022, according to the International Monetary Fund.