TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – As the first elections since the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak draw to a close in Egypt this week, a Canadian junior mining company sees an “extremely” bright future ascending over its arid plains.
Toronto-based Alexander Nubia owns gold exploration properties in the North African country, and CEO Alexander Massoud said this week he is hoping to unveil as much as 500 000 oz when the firm announces its maiden resource estimate at Abu Marawat in the first quarter of 2012.
The property, located 200 km north of TSX-listed Centamin’s Sukari mine, on Thursday came out with some impressive drilling results, with one hole cutting 11.6 m at 10.8 g/t gold, 185 g/t silver, 0.86% copper and 4.64% zinc.
Speaking in an interview, Massoud said Alexander Nubia’s next steps following preparing the resource statement would be determined by what it comes up with, as well as with exploration results at the Hamama deposit 50 km to the west.
Hamama, a volcanic massive sulphide (VMS) ore deposit, could be a company builder in its own right, Massoud said. It is located in the Nubian Shield, where other VMS deposits have been turned into mines by La Mancha Resources and Nevsun Resources.
He said the strike length is 3 000 m, and Alexander Nubia has still not trapped it. The company is in the early phases of drilling at the property and expects to have the first results out either this month or in January.
The Abu Marawat deposit has been pierced by drills before – Minex in 1988 to 1989 completed 19 500 m in drilling around the property and put together a global resource, projecting a 94 000 oz gold and silver equivalent resource. That did not include copper credits, which add greatly to the value, Massoud said.
While the Egyptian election results were delayed until Friday, at the time of writing the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party were well ahead in the polls.
Massoud was “extremely” upbeat on the country’s future, saying that there were many sectors that, with changes in policy and the regulatory environment, would flourish.
But Egypt would need help from outside countries to ensure a smooth and expedited transition process.
“All these countries – the US, Canada and Europe – have a vested interest to see Egypt flourish and grow,” he stressed.
Mining was one of the industries that are set for a change to the legislation, according to Massoud, who was schooled in Canada but has been living in Egypt since 2007.
The noises he’s heard from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources is that the country is looking to make some significant changes to the mining code in order to attract more investment.
“It’s still early days, but they are looking at the top 10 mining jurisdictions and the mining codes those countries have, and then adapting that to fit Egypt’s conditions,” he commented.
It would be about time, as the current legislation was put in place in 1958 – outdating even Mubarak.
Still any, shifts would not have a direct impact on Alexander Nubia’s concessions, which are a decreed law, along with the other mining companies already active in Egypt. The list here includes AngloGold Ashanti, in joint venture with Thani Emirates, as well as Centamin and Nuinsco Resources.