Centamin, Egypt’s largest gold producer, announced Monday the resumption of its operations following a green light by the government allowing the export of a 1.6 ton gold shipment.
“We will resume operations within a few days. It is a matter of getting workers back to the site and securing enough levels of diesel to restart our operations,” chairman of Centamin plc, Josef El-Raghy, told Daily News Egypt.
“Centamin would be permitted to export the said amount of gold, which was extracted from the three square kilometre area legally allotted to the company by an administrative court ruling in October,” said a senior official at the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA).
The company halted its operations in Egypt due to a customs decision preventing its latest gold shipment from exportation until an approval from the Ministry of Finance is granted. Centamin found the demand to be “arbitrary” given its possession of “all necessary permissions from (EMRA) in line with normal procedures for gold exports.”
Commenting on the possibility of future export shipments facing the same problem, El-Raghy said, “the Ministry of Finance had no right to hold our shipment to begin with, since we have all necessary permissions and clearances from (EMRA).
Another reason for operations suspension was that the Egyptian General Petroleum Cooperation (EGPC) had halted diesel supply to the company due to its refusal to pay what Centamin described as, “an illegal retrospective payment of EGP 403 million for fuel delivered between December 2009 and January 2012.”
On Friday, the company refused EGPC’s command to pay the said amount; the EGPC subsequently denied that Centamin owed any payments.
The miner’s fuel supplier, Chevron, was notified by EGPC that diesel supply “may be resumed” and that no retrospective payment is currently due.
Centamin has already suspended operations last October after an Egyptian court ruled that the company’s legal right to operate the Sukari mine, located in Egypt’s Eastern Desert, was invalid. Centamin appealed the verdict and resumed its operations.
Centamin started its operation in Egypt in 2005 with the Construction of the Sukari gold mine in 2007 and began extracting gold two years later.