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Egyptian Gazette: Geological riches promise new economic horizons

All estimates of local mineral wealth speak of a great potential that has not been fully explored, according to experts.
21.03.12 | Interesting article at Egyptian Gazette

Abdul Aati Salman, the former chairman of the Nuclear Material Authority, perceives a series of mineral ventures across the country, with special emphasis on Sinai, as the ‘project of the century’ in Egypt’s development.

All estimates of local mineral wealth speak of a great potential that has not been fully explored, according to experts. Professor Salman says that this is paradoxical, while desert areas account for almost 95 per cent of the country’s total area, geological studies at university level receive little attention and geologists find hardly any work after they graduate.

Salman is quite enthusiastic about the industrial prospects of a limestone plateau, which extends 600 kilometres from Luxor in the south to Qattamiya on the outskirts of Cairo.

He also highlights the fact that substantial quantities of very pure limestone can be found in Sinai. Hundreds of industries could rely on these deposits.

“Their degree of purity reaches almost 99 per cent”, he told Al-Shorouq Arabic daily newspaper and pointed out that the currently valid law governing quarrying and mining activities, endorsed in 1956, was no longer fit for application.

He advocated the need to reconsider investment contracts in relation to the State’s rights to make use of the country’s mineral wealth. A new law would preserve the rights of the State while securing the interests of investors.

He hoped that the legislators would consider a draft law that had been outlined by the Geological Survey Authority some time ago.
Salman has already conducted preliminary studies and created charts of promising prospecting sites, available minerals and relevant industries in view of setting up integrated urban communities.

Believing in the high investment opprtunities in Sinai, Salman has identified four areas of development: two in the north, one in the central part of the Peninsula and one in the south, which, according to his vision, would be capable of absorbing a population of three to four million.

One of the proposed project’s advantages is that profits could already be made when the first stage is completed, which would focus on areas that already have the necessary infrastructure.

Salman’s brainchild is only one among many projects put forth by sincere scientists, businessmen and expatriates in different walks of life intending to make good use of the country’s potentials.

Close observers hope that the forthcoming presidential elections will put an end to a turbulent political scene, which has so far hindered the implementation of projects that could take the country’s economy to new horizons.