Saturday, July 26, 2008

Eastern Desert - renewed gold production

Monday Morning

This may appear to be slightly off-topic, but it is of interest in terms of the potential damage to the Eastern Desert that the mining might inflict on the archaeology. I've written on my Eastern Desert website both about gold exploitation in Pharaonic and Graeco-Roman periods and about the damage that existing quarrying has inflicted on the rock art. Just something to bear in mind.

Egypt, which stopped gold production in 1958, will produce eight tons of the metal from mines in its Eastern Desert in 2009, said Hussein Hammouda, chairman of the Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority.

Egypt, whose people once considered gold to be the skin of the gods, is revisiting ancient gold deposits, some unworked for 2,000 years.

One of the mines which has started production has a reserve of 13 million ounces of gold, Hammouda said, adding, “Once this mine becomes fully operational, it won’t be only one of the biggest in Africa, but one of the biggest worldwide”.

Egypt’s gold production stopped in 1958 because the volume mined was considered too small to be profitable. The country produced 7.4 tons from 1902 to 1958.

“We’re planning to produce eight tons of gold in 2009, which is more than what Egypt produced in a century”, Hammouda explained.

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