NAGUIB Sawiris, the Egyptian billionaire-turned-gold bull is holding talks to buy a 51% stake in Shalateen, the state-owned mining company, said Reuters.
Sawiris chairs private gold mining group La Mancha and had said previously that he intended to invest in gold and copper mining in Egypt if investment conditions improved.
Egypt in January issued new regulations that appeared to eliminate the need for mining companies to form joint ventures with the government and to limit state royalties to a maximum 20%, said Reuters.
Sawiris said in an interview with Bloomberg News on February 19 that the Egyptian government had “… already started talks with us as well as other companies to promote the new tender”.
“We are willing to participate in any area that could be promising,” Sawiris told Bloomberg News. He didn’t specify which of the firms he’s involved with would submit bids.
Ramping up gold output would be a future source of growth for the Egyptian economy, which is emerging from a sweeping International Monetary Fund-backed reform program, said Bloomberg News.
“The new regulations are more favourable and more realistic and would attract foreign investments to the sector,” said Sawiris. The government is planning a roadshow in Canada next month and will promote the new opportunities at a global mining conference, said Bloomberg News.
Sawiris is invested in Endeavour Mining via La Mancha, as well as Golden Star Resources and Evolution Mining. Endeavour recently published details of a possible merger with Centamin, a company that operates the Sukari gold mine in Egypt. Centamin rejected the proposal arguing that the all-share offer undervalued it.
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