Barrick Gold expands exploration portfolio into Egypt after tender win

Barrick Gold has signed four gold exploration deals worth up to US$8.8 million in Egypt’s Eastern Desert, after succeeding in an international tender launched by the North African nation last year.

Earlier this week, Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources announced the news that Barrick will explore in 19 blocks across the Eastern Desert region, which hosts Centamin’s Sukari mine – Egypt’s only operating commercial gold mine.

The move represents Barrick’s first venture into Egypt’s gold mining sector, which has remained largely underexplored and undeveloped due to a former system of royalties and profit-sharing agreements which made it difficult and unprofitable for miners to extract the country’s plentiful gold reserves.

The restrictive system was overhauled last year as Egypt announced a series of gold bid rounds, which have so far attracted mining juniors and heavyweights. The new legislation limits state royalties to a maximum of 20%.

“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,” Barrick’s president and CEO Mark Bristow said.