The Egyptian Company for Black Sands was recently launched with a capital of EGP 1bn.
Ashraf Soltan, chairperson and managing director of the company, told Daily News Egypt that the company is going to put up a tender to buy black sand equipment from international companies in two months. The company is preparing the tender’s terms and conditions, based on technical specifications and a feasibility study prepared by Australian consultancy firm Minerals Technologies.
Soltan added that the companies entering the tender are expected to supply and install the equipment necessary for the black sand project in Burullus, besides training Egyptian workers to operate and maintain the equipment.
He added that the Egyptian Company for Black Sands will also launch a tender specifically for Egyptian companies that will implement all civil engineering work for the project.
Former prime minister Ibrahim Mehleb had issued a decree in September 2014 to establish the Egyptian Company for Black Sands, in order to make the most of the black sands at the Burullus coast area in Kafr El-Sheikh, after conducting a feasibility study for the project.
The Nuclear Materials Authority in Egypt had agreed with one of the Australian consulting firms to conduct a feasibility survey of the project in 2000. The survey was conducted at a cost of about $12.5m, and estimated that the establishment of the black sands project in Burullus will cost $125m.
Soltan said that the company will start searching for black sand in 11 areas, besides Burullus, the most prominent of which are located on the coasts of Damietta, Port Said, Rafah, and El-Arish.
He noted that black sand is considered a national treasure. It is used as a raw material in many industries, which could attract more investment in the industrial sector, and provide a lot of jobs as a result. These investments will also maximise the state’s yields, Soltan added.
The reserves of black sand in Egypt reach 300m tonnes, which can cover Egypt’s needs for 20 years. The establishment of the project and the minerals separation plants will take about three years.
Black sand holds many economically valuable minerals, including Zircon, Titanium, Garnett, and Magnenite, which are used in various industries, such as paint, paper, and high quality cast iron.
Soltan was assigned as the chairperson and managing director of the Egyptian Company for Black Sands. The board is formed of eight shareholders of the company, including representatives of the Nuclear Materials Authority of Egypt (NMA), Kafr El-Sheikh governorate, the National Investment Bank (NIB), the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA), and four representatives of the National General Contracting and Supplies Co.
The National General Contracting & Supplies Co. holds 61% of the company’s shares, while the NMA owns 15%, NIB 12%, Kafr el-Sheikh governorate 10%, and EMRA about 2%.