El Molla added that the zones would extract and process gold in the Eastern Desert, phosphates in the Western Desert, and copper in Sinai.
In the same vein, el Molla noted that the ministry is working to establish a state-of-the-art certified gold refinery in Mersa Alam, south of the Eastern Desert.
Establishing the new refinery aims to maximizing the added value from gold resources and up economic returns from gold production within the mine-to-market value chain.
The area housing the gold refinery is thought to hold more than 1 million ounces of gold. The deposit could be worth up to USD 1 bn if estimates are proven correct. The area has an average gold concentration of 1.5 grams per ton of rock.
Iqat Gold Mining Company, a joint venture company set up by the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority and the military-owned Shalateen Mining Company, holds the concession.
The ministry aims for the mining sector to grow tenfold over the next two decades, which would ultimately see it contribute 5% to annual gross domestic product (GDP).
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