In 2008, the Egyptian mining equipment market was $540 million with an annual growth of 40% over the last five years. The majority of mining equipment is imported from U.S., Europe, Australia, Russia, the Far East, while plastic pipes and abrasives used in this industry are manufactured locally. The U.S. market share currently is 40% percent and dominates the market for processing plants, and heavy-duty equipment such as drilling rigs, tanks, trucks, loaders, bulldozers, excavators, shovels and cranes. The local market is very receptive to U.S. equipment because of its excellent reputation and resale value. Egypt is also becoming a commercial producer of gold and has more than 40 mineral ores. Egypt’s rich land offers iron residues in Baharia Oasis and the Eastern Desert, Manganese, Gold, Titanium, Tungsten and Tin, Copper, Chrome, Phosphate, Talc, Sulfur, Gypsum, Quartz, Potassium and Sodium Acids, Glass Sand, precious stones and Ornament stones.
The Government is working on new legislation that will make Egypt more attractive to foreign investors who are interested in operating in the Egyptian gold mining industry. The current legislation requires foreign companies enter into joint ventures and production sharing agreements with the government. The practice is common for the oil and gas industry, but makes gold exploration a risky business. Mineral deposits are harder to determine than oil and gas plots, making gold miners uneasy about entering into long-term agreements without a comprehensive understanding of a block's potential. Under the current system, more than half of a company's revenues go to the Egyptian government. The government expects that a friendlier legislative framework will bring more international players to Egypt's gold mines.
Iron Residues in al-Baharia Oasis: Iron residues are found in four main sites in al-Baharia Oasis. The iron residues are currently used in feeding the Iron and Steel Plant in Helwan. A railway line was constructed to link the iron raw sites in the Oasis and Helwan. The annual production for this plant reaches one million tons and the ratio of the raw reaches around 45 so concentration operations should be implemented to raise its percentage in the raw substance. The raw reaches around 100 million tons.
Iron Residues in the Eastern Desert: Iron residues are found in the middle sector of the Eastern Desert, south of al-Quseri, near the Red Sea Coast. Its reserves reach about 40 million tons. The raw iron is used to produce cast iron which is used in producing steel.
Manganese: Raw manganese is found in a number of sites but only a few are economically invested. Om Bagama is Sinai is considered the most important site. The raw manganese is found among the limestone and dolomite rocks. The manganese raw residues are also found in Abu Zniema in Sinai; however, the reserve is somewhat low at around 40,000 tons. In Halayeb, south east of the Eastern desert near the Red Sea coast, the residues are abundant and reserves are estimated at around 120,000 tons. It is mainly used in producing steel, solid batteries, paints and chemical industries.
Gold: There are more than 90 old gold mines located in the Eastern Desert. The gold is found in the minute granules spread in the veins of the quart that dissect the granite rocks along the Eastern desert.
Titanium: The main raw material for the titanium is represented in the almenite metal and can be found in numerous sites in Egypt, the most important of which are the Eastern Desert. The almenite is also found as a component of the black sand. The titanium is used in manufacturing the steel alloys and paints.
Tungsten and Tin: The raw tin, known as the casterite and the raw tungsten are found in many sites in the Eastern Desert. The casterite is used as a main source for the tin component, which is used in manufacturing the tin sheets and bronze bars.
Copper: Although the raw copper is abundant in Egypt, it still not been economically exploited. It is mainly concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula. Also the copper residues, which are innate in the raw nickel are found in areas of the Eastern Desert.
Chrome: The chrome raw, known as the chromium iron oxide, was discovered in mid 1940s. It is found in the form of ribbons or layers in many sites in the Eastern Desert. The chromium is used as a main element for producing chrome, which is used in manufacturing the anti-erosion steel, leather, dying and tanning.
Phosphate: Phosphate in Egypt is considered one of the major metallurgical residues. This is attributed to the large quantities of phosphate which are found in the form of a belt of phosphate residues extending along the Red Sea Coast for over 750 km. Its economic importance is attributed to the fact that it is largely exported. Moreover, it is manufactured in the form of chemical fertilizers as a kind of super phosphate. The phosphate sites of economic importance lie in three main areas:
• The Nile Valley between Edfo and Qena: The raw reserves Al-Mahameed area alone is estimated at around 200 million tons. The geological studies found a reserve of about 100 million tons in al-Mahameed surrounding areas.
• The Red Seas Coast between Safaga and Quseir: Reserves in this area are estimated at around 200-250 million tons of phosphate raw.
• The Western Desert: Abu-Tartur plateau that lies among Al-Dakhla Oasis represents the largest phosphate residue in Egypt, as the reserve is estimated at around 100 million tons.
Talc: Talc residues are found in more than 30 sites, most of which are in the Eastern Desert. It is used in paper, soap, medical drugs and detergents manufacture.
Sulfur: Sulfur mainly found in the Mediterranean Sea Coast and the Gulf of Suez and is used in producing the sulfuric acid.
Gypsum: Gypsum found in more than 25 sites, mainly in North Ismailia, East of the Gulf of Suez in Sinai, Alamain and West of Alexandria. Gypsum is used in producing sulfuric acid.
Potassium and Sodium Acids: The residues of sodium carbonate (natron) are found in al-Natron Valley, while the residues of the sodium chloride comes from the seawater through evaporation in the saline along the Mediterranean Sea in Matrouh, Edco, Alexandria, Rosetta, Port Said and Qarun Lake in Fayoum. Such residues are the main source for the sodium and chloride, which are used in chemical industries, especially in producing caustic soda and the hydrochloric acid.
Glass Sand: The high quality white sands, which are used in making glass, are abundantly found near the Gulf of Suez, Wadi El-Natron and Qena Valley.
Precious Stones: Some of the most important precious stones are the turquoise, which is found in Sinai.
Emeralds are found in the Eastern Desert. Chrysolite is found in the Chrysolite Island, south of Red Sea.
Ornament Stones: The ornament stones are one of the promising mineral resources due to two main reasons:
• They are abundantly found in most of the Red Sea mountains and the Northern part of Sinai Peninsula and separate parts of the Western desert.
• There is a great diversity of rocks, whether igneous, transformational, or sediment rocks. The most common ornament rocks in Egypt are granite, marble, limestone, brachia, and alabaster.