Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris said he was looking to diversify his interests into sought-after battery metals and was confident that five new gold prospecting and mining concessions in Egypt would soon be approved.
According to Reuters, “his gold fund has agreed to sell its controlling stake in Golden Star Resources Ltd, one of three gold companies under its control, to China’s Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining Co Ltd. The Chinese company said on Nov. 1 it had agreed to buy Golden Star for $291 million.”
“The new funds and the cash coming from the sale will be reinvested,” Sawiris told Reuters in an interview at a recent Dubai real estate exhibition. “We’re trying a bit to diversify into other metals near gold. We’re looking at nickel and zinc and titanium and lithium – battery materials.”
“So the fund will also be looking at these opportunities, and we’re also continuing to do its traditional work, acquiring gold assets and building them up into much bigger companies.”
Sawiris, who is one of Egypt’s richest men, changed the structure of his gold mining company La Mancha this summer to bring other investors and fund selectors into the $1.4 billion fund.
Reuters state that “the Egyptian government, hoping to unlock vast untapped mineral resources, last year overhauled its mining regulations to make prospecting more appealing to investors.”
This included the elimination of a law requiring exploration and mining companies to form joint ventures with the government and the capping of state royalties at 20%.
Sawiris, among the world’s top investors in gold, said he hoped that the cost of land rents during exploration would also be addressed. “Investors are willing to pay once they have a find because they know they have income coming,” he commented.
Sawiris’s London-listed company Altus Strategies was one of 11 awarded 82 exploration blocks in Egypt in an initial government bid round in November 2020. It bid for another five concession areas in a second round this year.