Altus expands footprint in Egypt with four new licenses

The Abu Diwan project, located 30 km north-east of the historic El Sid gold mine, which contributed around 45% of Egypt’s gold production during the 20th century. (Image courtesy of Altus Strategies.)

Altus Strategies (LON: ALS) (TSX-V: ALTS) is expanding its footprint in Egypt after securing four new gold exploration licenses in the country’s Eastern Desert, which add to a string of permits it obtained in January.

The British junior said the Egyptian Mineral Resource Authority (EMRA) had granted the permits to the company’s subsidiary, Akh Gold.

The licences, comprising nine licence blocks and totalling 1,565 km2, target potential historic workings as defined by in-house satellite data review, Altus said.

The move is part of the country’s push to attract foreign capital into the sector, which included new regulations and a first round of international licensing bids, kicked off last year.

Altus’ decision to expand into the north east African nation follows a strategic investment by Egyptian-owned  private gold investment firm La Mancha, which bought 35% of the company in February 2020.

“It also reflects our belief in the substantial investment opportunity present in the country and is in line with our strategy to continue to grow our diversified portfolio of projects and royalties,” chief executive Steven Poulton said in the statement.

Open for business

Egypt’s previous system of royalties and profit-sharing agreements made it difficult and unprofitable for miners to explore for and exploit minerals. 

The fresh rules eliminated the need for miners to form joint ventures with the government and limited state royalties to a maximum of 20%.­

Unlike Egypt’s natural gas sector, the country’s mineral wealth remains largely under-explored and undeveloped.  It has only one commercial gold mine, Centamin’s (LON:CEY) (TSX:CEE) Sukari, which contributes up to $900 million a year to the nation’s gross domestic product.

Egypt, which links northeast Africa with the Middle East, has targeted $1 billion in new investments in the mining and energy sectors by 2030.

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