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Egypt says gold deposit discovered in southeast

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources said on Tuesday a gold deposit with estimated resources of 1 million ounces had been discovered in the southeast of the country.

The deposit lies in the concession area of the military-controlled Shalateen Mining Company in the Eastern Desert's Iqaat area, it said in a statement.

More than $1 billion is expected to be invested to develop the deposit over the next 10 years, the statement said, without giving details on the methodology used to determine the deposit's size.

Egypt has been seeking to attract investors to its mining sector and in March began an auction of 56,000 square kilometres of exploration concessions in the Eastern Desert.

It recently extended the auction's original July deadline to Sept. 15 as a result of the coronavirus crisis "and to have an opportunity for the bidders".

A new company will be formed between Shalateen Mining Company and the state regulator, the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority, to develop the deposit.

Centamin Plc, which says its Sukari mine in the Eastern Desert is Egypt's only operating gold mine, estimated its total gold resource at 11.7 million ounces as of mid-2017.

A third company, Hammash Misr, a 50-50 joint venture between EMRA and Cyprus-registered Matz Holdings Ltd, also has gold mining operations in Egypt, the oil ministry statement said.


(Reporting by Ehab Farouk; writing by Ulf Laessing; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans)