Egypt could become global gold producer in next decade

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Egypt could become a leading gold producer within the next decade following the discovery of large reserves in the country's Eastern Desert, the Le Progres Egyptian newspaper said Monday.
CAIRO, April 21 (RIA Novosti) - Egypt could become a leading gold producer within the next decade following the discovery of large reserves in the country's Eastern Desert, the Le Progres Egyptian newspaper said Monday.

"With annual output of over 30 tons of gold, sales could exceed revenues from tourism, agriculture and even oil," the newspaper quoted the country's Oil and Mineral Resources Ministry as saying.

Proven reserves at the Wadi Hudain deposit alone exceed 50 million ounces, worth around $50 billion.

Amgad Ghoneim, a senior ministry official, said under a development program gold output should reach 30 metric tons annually in the next ten years.

"At the first stage in the initial two years we will produce three metric tons near Hemesh and seven metric tons near al-Sukari," Ghoneim said, adding that the amount would be increased to 18 metric tons in the future.

Gold production will also depend on the number of companies working in the country, the official said.

"Nine foreign companies are active in the sphere in Egypt, and another two are involved in exploration," Ghoneim said.

Egypt mined gold back in the reign of the pharaohs, but the precious metal is no longer produced. In the initial stages of geological prospecting a gold map dating back to 13th-century BC was used.

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