The Egyptian government has granted eight new licences to overseas firms for the exploration of gold and other metals in the Eastern Desert region of the country.

The licences have been awarded following the completion of a tender process in June 2021. The tender saw participation from about 13-15 companies, reported Reuters, citing officials of the companies that participated in the tender.

Lotus Gold, AKH Gold, Marine Logistics Gold Mining and Ankh Resources are the companies that have secured the new licences for a period of six years.

Akh Gold chairman Mark Campbell was quoted by the publication as saying: “It seems odd that you wouldn’t take the money and run.

“All you want is for people to come spend money and explore for minerals. You need to be exploring, exploring, exploring.”

An Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority official told the publication that the unsuccessful companies in the latest auction will be allowed to take part in the new auction.

In 2020, Egypt amended mining laws to cancel the need to set up joint ventures with the government and to restrict state royalties limit to 20%.

Recently, Altus Strategies has discovered multiple high grade gold prospects from reconnaissance sampling across all four of its current projects in Egypt.

The company licences, which are located  in the highly prospective Eastern Desert, are held by its 100% owned subsidiary Akh Gold.

The award of two further gold exploration licences will increase the company’s aggregate holdings in Egypt to 1914km2.

Altus chief executive Steven Poulton said: “There are few gold opportunities globally today that are as exciting as those presented in the world-renowned Nubian Shield geology of the Eastern Desert of Egypt.”