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Egypt’s Sawiris awaits new mining law regulations before committing

Published: Updated:

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris said on Monday that investors are waiting to learn more about Egypt’s new mining law, which seeks to place the African country among the world’s leading gold and copper mining destinations.

Sawiris told Al Arabiya that investors still need to know more about the executive regulations of the law, such as government royalties, customs costs, and the foundations on which they will be held accountable.

“The law is supposed to keep up with other countries, and investors like me— an Egyptian who is one of the biggest investors in the gold and copper mining sectors in the world— can now invest in his own country,” he said.

The law had been announced and approved last week in Egypt’s official gazette, but specific details surrounding its stipulations are yet to be released.

The Egyptian government hopes the law will attract investors to the country’s rich mineral opportunities, which were in the past overlooked due to discouraging terms and vague regulations.

“The point is that for Egypt, gold, copper, and exploration and mining can be a source of income, just like petroleum,” Sawiris told Al Arabiya.

He pointed out that he would continue to use his family holding company, La Mancha, for potential investments in Egypt’s mining sector.

Sawiris, whose family also controls the Orascom business empire, is chairman of La Mancha, which has been significantly expanding its mining footprint in Africa in recent years.

“In Egypt, we can benefit even if we apply the same foundations that are applied in Sudan,” he said, referring to the previous mining work that his company conducted in Sudan.

“We can take new licenses, or take exploration licenses, or work with operating companies that have already explored and are in need of capital for mining, as the mining system requires equipment and massive investments; or we can apply for entirely new licenses,” he added.

La Mancha currently has stakes in Australia’s Evolution Mining, Toronto-listed Endeavor Mining, and Ghana-focused Golden Star Resources.

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