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Egypt forms authority to implement Golden Triangle project
05 February 2017
By Omar Khorshed
Egypt’s eastern desert holds immense potential for development of mining industry, both upstream and downstream. But the country’s regressive licensing and operating terms has always been an obstacle to attracting investment, especially from the international mining industry.
The government hopes to change all that with the new Golden Triangle Specialized Economic Zone (SEZ), which will span an area of more than 10,000 square kilometers across Upper Egypt and the eastern desert.
The SEZ, announced by the Egyptian cabinet on Sunday, will operate on the same lines as Suez Canal Economic Zone, with the Golden Triangle Authority having the freedom to organize government and private business operations in a rapid and progressive manner to help boost the region’s economy.
The mining industry requires terms that are different from those seen in the oil and gas business and custom tailored to each mineral, according to Eng. Yasser El Maghraby, head of a cross-ministerial steering committee formed by the cabinet to manage the project.
“The Golden Triangle Authority will come with new mining terms package that will be economical to both the investor and Egyptian government and in coherence with international norms, all to unleash the great untapped mining potential found in the Golden Triangle region,” he said.
A 30-year development master plan, prepared by Italy-headquartered engineering consultancy D’Appolonia, integrates and anchors the region’s infrastructure, urban, agriculture, tourism and logistics projects to gains from mining development. The project is expected to generate over 400,000 new jobs and more than $18 billion in investments.
The creation of Golden Triangle Authority assumes tremendous significance in the context of Egypt’s largest gold mining operator deciding not to participate in the country’s new gold exploration tender. Centamin, which operates the only active gold mine in the country, and two other operators declined to participate in Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority’s (EMRA) new bidding round for gold exploration, the first since 2009 with company chairman Josef El-Raghy stating that the terms “result in an effective tax rate that is, by far, one of the highest for mining globally.”
With the steering committee concluding its year-long studies and recommendations, the Golden Triangle project is all set to move to the implementation phase in the very near future.
(The author is National Projects Manager, Minister’s office, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Egypt)
© Zawya Projects News 2017