Among the companies awarded concessions were Australia’s Centamin, Canadian companies B2Gold, Barrick Gold, Lotus Gold, Red Sea resources and Britain’s AKH Gold.
Though Egypt has a history of gold-mining stretching back to the pharaohs, it has only one commercial gold mine, Centamin’s Sukari, which contributes up to $900-million a year to its gross domestic product.
The winning companies were awarded only 29% of the blocks on offer in the bid round.
Egypt is targeting $1-billion in investment in the mining sector and has opened up a second bid round for gold and mineral exploration from Thursday to last four months, Molla said.
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