Aton receives mining licence for Abu Marawat concession in Egypt

18th January 2024 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

An exploitation lease, or mining licence, for gold and associated minerals has been issued to TSX-V-listed Aton Resources for its 100%-owned Abu Marawat Concession, in the Eastern Desert of Egypt.

The existence of a commercial discovery at the Hamama and Rodruin projects has also been agreed by the company and the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA).

The exploitation period for Abu Marawat will be for an initial 20 years and is renewable for a further period of ten years.

It is comprised of two separate sectors, with a total area of 57.66 km2, and covers the company’s main project areas at the Hamama West and Rodruin mineral deposits.

Aton will also retain selected areas of the concession for additional exploration, covering a total area of 255 km2, for an additional period of up to four years.

Other areas within the concession that are not retained for additional exploration will be relinquished.

Aton says it will rapidly move to establish a joint venture (JV) company, which will function as the operator of the exploitation lease under the terms of the concession agreement. The JV will be equally owned by Aton and the EMRA.

Aton is obligated to begin commercial production of gold from the concession within four years.

“I am very pleased to be able to announce the establishment and issuance of the exploitation lease, or the mining licence, at our Abu Marawat concession.

“This is a transformational event for Aton and also for the mineral exploration and mining sector in Egypt, and we wish to thank our partners at the EMRA and also the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, under the auspicious leadership of Tarek el-Molla for their assistance and cooperation in getting this over the line,” says Aton interim CEO Tonno Vahk.

“The establishment of the mining licence at Abu Marawat, for an initial 20-year period and renewable for a further ten years, provides Aton with the security of tenure required to proceed with our long-stated plan to develop multiple gold mining operations at Abu Marawat.

“Aton now becomes the first international company to be issued a licence to mine gold in Egypt since the Sukari mining licence was awarded in 2005,” Vahk points out.

“We are also delighted to have retained large areas of our choosing for additional exploration, including our recent Semna drill discovery. Semna continues to look extremely promising, and we plan to start a second phase of diamond drilling there in the very near future, now that the mining licence has been issued and established.

“We are fully confident in our plan to bring Semna and numerous other exploration projects into the exploitation lease in the coming years, with the assistance of our partners at the EMRA,” he adds.

Vakh says the company will be moving ahead quickly as it looks to initially develop the gold oxide cap mineralisation at Hamama West, according to its August 2023 submission to the EMRA, which demonstrated the existence of the commercial discovery at the Hamama West and Rodruin deposits.

Aton is also planning an “aggressive exploration programme” on the remainder of its other most prospective targets in the retained exploration areas, with the aim of bringing them into the mining licence area expeditiously, along with Semna.

“This is truly a landmark event for Aton and for all of its shareholders and stakeholders, as well as for the EMRA and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, and most importantly for Egypt, for its people and for the development of its mining industry.

“All of the team at Aton in both Egypt and Canada are excited to finally now be able to push ahead with the development of the next commercial gold mines in Egypt,” Vahk avers.