Natural Resources, 2011, 2, 35-53
doi:10.4236/nr.2011.21006 Published Online March 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic
Mineral Commodities
Abdel-Zaher M. Abouzeid1, Abdel-Aziz M. Khalid2
1Department of Mining, Petroleum, and Metallurgy, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt,
2Geological Survey and Mineral Resources Authority, Cairo, Egypt.
Received November 1st, 2010; revised January 24th, 2011; accepted January 31st, 2011.
The mineral potential in Egypt is quite high. Almost all sorts of industrial minerals, metallic and non-metallic com-
modities exist in commercial amounts. However, Egypt imports many of the mineral commodities needed for the local
mineral industries. The main reason for this is that the in vestors, either the governmental or the p rivate sectors, refrain
from investing into the mineral industry for prospecting, evaluation, and developing the mining and mineral processing
technologies. This is because the return on investment in the min ing ind ustry is generally low and the pay back period is
relatively long compared with easy-to-get money projects. Another reason is the disarray of the mining laws and regu-
lations and lack of administrative capability to deal with domestic and international investors and solve the related
problems. Also, lack of skilled person nel in the field of mining and mineral p rocessing is an additio nal facto r for the set
back of the mining industry in Egypt. This is why the mining technology in Egypt is not very far from being primitive
and extremely simple, with the exception of the underground mining of coal, North of Sinai, and Abu-Tartur phosphate
mining, where fully automated long wall operations are designed. Also, the recent gold and tin-tantalum-niobium pro-
jects are being designed on modern surface mining and mineral processing technologies. The present review presents
an overview of the most important metallic mineral commodities in Egypt, their geological background, reserves and
production rates. A brief mention of the existing technologies for their exploitation is also highlighted.
Keywords: Egypt Mineral Resources, Geological Aspects; Mining, Mineral Processing, Metallic Ores, Mineral
Industry Investments
1. Introduction
Egyptian Civilization is one of the most ancient civiliza-
tions in the world, which practiced mining and process-
ing of metallic and non-metallic ores. The ancient Egyp-
tians quarried the dimensional stones in a very orderly
manner to obtain geometrically shaped blocks with exact
dimensions to build tombs, temples and pyramids. They
also cut-from extremely hard rocks such as granite, gab-
bros, and granodiorites-obelisks and blocks for hewing
statues and for recording their history on them. They also
traced the natural minerals, collected them, and treated
them to compose the ever-beautiful painting colors,
which stayed bright and persisted weather changes for
thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians had an excel-
lent sense and knowledge about geology, survey, rock
mechanics and metallurgical processing. They worked
their way out in open pits, open cast, and underground
mining. Almost all gold and copper locations known at
present were originally discovered and worked out by the
Ancient Egyptians. The technology limitations in mining,
and processing, at that time, limited the mining depth,
and the overall efficiency of upgrading the ores. The first
known underground map (1300 BC), for El-Fawakhir
gold mine, is preserved in Turin museum in Italy.
There are evidences that the Ancient Egyptians mined
and extracted gold, silver, copper, and zinc. They used
these metals in their pure state and/or as alloys to suit
certain purposes. They designed and produced several
hard alloys such as bronze (90% Copper and 10 %
zinc). They also traced all sorts of gem stones in Sinai,
Eastern Desert, and Western Desert. They quarried lime-
stone, granite, marble, breccias, diorites, and granodiorite
Mining in Egypt today, follows almost the same meth-
odology as the Ancient Egyptians used to use thousands
of years ago. The main differences are in the introduction
of the modern technologies which are available today
and were not available then. The underground mines to-
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
day are much deeper, drainage of the underground water
is readily drained by means of pumps which were not
available at that time, the underground atmosphere is
conditioned by the up to date conditioning techniques
(ventilation and refrigeration), the underground openings
are electrically lightened, and the raw materials are me-
chanically transported [1]. However, the scale of mining
in Egypt at present is still small. The largest mining op-
eration, which is the iron ore mining, does not exceed 3
million ton/year [2].
1.1. Geological Background
The Egyptian territory is covered by crystalline basement
rocks belonging to Precambrian age and Phanerozoic
sediments which range in age from Cambrian to Recent.
The basement rocks form about 10% of the land surface
and are exposed in South Sinai, Eastern Desert, and
South West corner of Egypt [3].
The basement rocks of Southwest corner of Egypt crop
out from Egyptian-Libyan borders to Gabal Kamel as
continuous low land and ridges. From Gabal Kamel to
Aswan, the basement occurs as uplifting inliers. Richter
[4] and Richter and Schandelmeier [5] classified Pre-
cambrian rocks into three Formations starting from High
grade granulites (Granoblastic Formation), overlain by
the remobilized Anatexite Formation, and finally the
youngest clearly bedded Metasedimentary Formation.
All these formations were intruded by granodiorite and
porphyritic granite. This classification was used by
EGPC and CONOCO [6] in issuing a map of a scale
1:500 000 for the area. Naim et al. [7] used a simpler
classification system, where they classified these rocks as
old metamorphic rocks of probably Archean age to early
Proterozoic. Klerkx [8] and Sultan et al. [9] included
amphibolite, ortho- and para- gneisses of granulite and
amphibolite facies, which are intruded by calc-alkaline
granitoids and gabbros. The late magmatic rocks are
clearly related to Pan African. The main economic min-
erals in this region are Banded Iron Formation probably
of Lake Superior Type [10-12].
The basement rocks of Eastern Desert and Sinai form
part of Arabian-Nubian shield. More than one scenario
were proposed for the evolution of this shield, the more
acceptable one is that which assumed that the shield is
built up of arc(s)-inter arc(s) rock association [13,14].
The arc associations' complexes encompass the volcano-
sedimentary group. The arc-inter arc associations are
well illustrated by ophiolitic slabs (serpentinized ul-
tramafic rocks, tholeiitic Meta gabbros, mafic meta-
volcanics), thrusted over the arc complex terrain [15].
The evolution and cratonization of the arc group took
place between 900-550 Ma [16]. The arc-inter arc group
was intruded by syn-to late- tectonic calc-alkaline dio-
rite-granodiorite rocks through tectono-magmatic cycle
ended by cratonization, through thrusting, low angle
shearing and folding [17]. This stage was culminated by
granodiorite intrusion as in Meatiq and Hafafit areas at
612 Ma [18]. The Neoproterozoic crust was subjected to
regional NW-SE folding and intruded by granite, G1 [19]
and Dokhan volcanics [20]. Hammamat sediments which
are derived from volcanic rocks were deposited in intra
mountain basins [21]. The tectonic granite (younger
granite G2 and G3) [19] was intruded in the final stage of
Pan African tectono-magmatism [20]. During rifting
stage several ring complexes were intruded as intraplate
magmatism which could be emplaced during Paleozoic
or younger [22]. During Phanerozoic, three-within-plate
volcanic activities namely Katherine Volcanic, Wadi
Natash Volcanic, and Tertiary basalts and dolerites are
The Phanerozoic sediments overlay uncomfortably the
basement rocks and cover 90% of the whole Egyptian
territory starting from Paleozoic to Quaternary.
Older Paleozoic rocks crop out near the basement con-
tacts in the Western Desert and in Sinai, but they sink
below younger sediments further North and West. In
Sinai the section is mostly sandstone usually ferruginous
and manganiferous in Um Bogma [23].
Mesozoic sediments are very unequally distributed.
Marine Triassic is found in Aref El Naga, whereas conti-
nental covers many areas in Egypt. The Jurassic age is
well developed in Gabal Maghara and South West of
Sinai, Khashm El Galala. Cretaceous sediments are
widely distributed and form about 40 % of the Egyptian
surface. The deposition of Cretaceous sediments is not
only governed by regression and transgression of fall and
rise of sea level, but also by renewal uplift of source ar-
eas and variations in continuous input linked to tectonism
along the continental margin [24] and within the craton
[25]. All phosphate deposits and white sands are the eco-
nomic minerals in Mesozoic.
The Cenozoic in Egypt witnessed three major events:
thin distribution in time and space, their mode of deposi-
tion, and N-E and S-W changes of facies [23]. The Pa-
leocene and Eocene rocks crop out in the Nile Valley
between Luxor and Cairo, Fayioum, Bahariya, Sinai, and
North Eastern Desert. Oligocene started with the uplift-
ing of Egyptian Craton with the rise of South Western
Desert of Egypt. It is well illustrated in Gabal Qatrani,
Gabal Ahmar, Safaga-Quseir area and around Mersa
Alam on the Red Sea, Baharia, and West of Nile Valley.
Miocene occupies one eighths of the total land surface
[26]. Sedimentation was greatly influenced by the tec-
tonic events which led to the formation of the Red Sea
[23]. 1t crops out at Red sea, South West of Sinai and
North Western Desert. Pliocene is represented in Red Sea
hills, Wadi Qena, Mediterranean Sea, Fayoum, Nile Val-
opyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities37
ley and Nile Delta, and Cairo-Suez district. Quaternary
deposits are widely distributed as wadi deposits, sand
dunes, and Sabkhas.
1.2. Economic Metallic Ores in Egypt
Several metallic ores were recorded in Egypt [27]. In the
present time, only iron and ilmenite are under mining
while manganese and chromite are mined in small scale.
The rest of metallic ores mainly, gold, Pb-Zn, Cu, Nb-Ta
deposits are still under exploration and re-estimation of
ore reserves.
Many attempts were done to classify these ores either
on the bases of time of deposition [28-30] or in the frame
of metalogenetic aspects [31,32]. The first linking be-
tween plate tectonic modeling for Arabian-Nubian shield
and mineralization was given by Garson and Shalaby
[33]. The latest classification was proposed by Botros
and Noor [34] where they classified the Egyptian ore
deposits on the bases of tectonic-magmatic stages as fol-
1.3. Island Arc Stage
A-Deposits formed in ophiolitic assemblage including
Cu-Ni-Co sulphides e.g. Abu Swayeil copper and Podi-
form chromite deposits.
B-Deposits formed in primitive island arc including
Banded Iron Formations, BIF, and its gold related depos-
C-Deposits formed in mature island arc including
volcanic hosted base metal massive sulphides e.g. gold
related deposits such as Um Samuki.
1.4. Accretional Stage (Orogenic Stage)
A- Auriferous vein type.
B- Base metal vein type.
C- Titanoferrous iron ore, e.g., Abu Ghalqa ore deposit.
1.5. Late Orogenic-Extensional Stage
A- Cu-Ni sulphides Gabbro, Akarm
B- Titanoferrous iron ore, Kurabkanci
C- Association with granitic rocks:
-Beryllium, e.g., Um Kabu
-Tin –deposit e.g. Abu Dabbab
-Tungsten, e.g., Igla
-Fluorite, e.g., Homr Akarm
-Auriferous vein deposit, e.g., El Sid
This series of articles provides a statistical summary
about the most important mineral commodities in Egypt.
It also briefs the geological aspects, the mining, and min-
eral processing techniques used in the today’s mining
activities and the scale of the mining operations existing
in Egypt. Each commodity is preceded with the related
geological conditions and events. The mineral commodi-
ties can be classified as metallic and non-metallic depos-
its [1,2,11,35-41]. The most important of these deposits
1) Metallic ores such as: iron ores, gold ores, industrial
metal oxides (Sn, Ta, Nb, W, and Mo), titanium and
titaniferous-iron ores, manganese ores, sulphide
mineralization (Pb, Zn, Cu, and Co), and chromite.
2) Non-metallic ores such as: phosphate, limestone,
dolomite, ornamental stones, quartz rock, white sands,
talc, feldspars, kaolin, fire clays, bentonite, gypsum,
fluorspar, sands and gravels, magnesite, evaporates
(salts), and coal.
The present work is an attempt to shed some lights on
the metallic ores in Egypt as a whole and to discuss the
technological problems facing their exploitation, i.e., no
specific mineralization classification will be strictly fol-
lowed. The metallic ores, which will be discussed here
in, are put according to the priority of their economic
impact on Egypt.
2. Iron Ores in Egypt
Iron ores in Egypt occur in two forms:
A. Banded Iron Formation (BIF), and
B. Ironstone.
The iron deposits in Egypt are shown in Figure 1 [27].
This figure shows the distribution of iron ores and iron
oxide traces all over Egypt. Most of the locations are
inter-related in origin to each other. The trend of the iron
oxides in Western Desert points out to a common source
of the iron deposits in this area.
2.1. Banded Iron Formation, BIF
This type of iron mineralization was recorded in Eastern
Desert in 13 localities between Safaga in the North and
Mersa Alam in the South, and in South Western Desert in
the area between Egyptian-Libyan border in the West to
Gabal Kamel in the East and extends outside Egypt to the
Libyan and Sudanese territories around Gabal Arkenu
and around Gabal Kissu, respectively [42].
2.1.1. Eastern Desert BIF
The most famous occurrences of BIF in Eastern Desert
are Wadi Kareim, Um Nar, Abu Marawat, El Dabbah,
Um Ghamis, Gabal El Hadid, Um Shadad, and Abu Di-
wan. The country rock of BIF is the island arc volcanic
(basalt, andesite, and dacite), and volcanoclastic rocks as
in Abu Marawat [43]. The volcanoclastic rocks are ac-
cumulated with BIF in intra-arc basins and intercalated
with BIF in the central part of Eastern Desert. The di-
mension of BIF band ranges in thickness from few cen-
timeters up to 5 meters with an average thickness of 1.5
m in most cases.
Um Nar BIF is a good example, where this area has
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
Figure 1. Locations of iron mineral deposits in Egypt [27].
13.7 million tons with iron content up to 45 % Fe [32].
According to Dardir and El Chimi [44], this area is
mainly built of four litholotectonic units: 1-porphyritic
quartz granitoids, structurally overlaying a series of tec-
tonically mixed schists comprising acid and intermediate
tuffs, biotite, quartz, schists and phyllonite, and Serpen-
tinite which forms Gabal El Mayit ultramafic rocks. Um
Nar sequences overlie structurally the serpentinite rocks
of Gabal El Mayit. This group is folded into overturned
syncline, Figure 2 [45]. Figure 2 shows the complexity
of the iron formation at Um Nar and similar iron ore lo-
cations in the Eastern Desert. There are extensive folding
and faulting systems in the area. This structure reflects
the difficulties which may face the mining operations.
BIF in all outcrops exhibits oxide facies which is com-
posed of alternative iron rich bands with silica rich bands.
Carbonates and sulphides facies also do exist [46,47]. El
Dougdoug et al. [47], on the bases of the mineralogy of
Gabal El Hadid, stated that BIF exhibits the following
formations: 1-hematite-magnetite-jasper as oxide facies,
2-siderite-magnetite-chert as carbonate facies, and 3-
pyrite-magnetite as sulphides facies. Regarding the origin
of BIF, Botros [43] proposed a model for Abu Marawat
BIF, where he attributed the formation of BIF to the in-
teraction between volcanically derived fluids and sea
water. These fluids were capable to leach iron, silica, and
other associated elements including gold from basalt and
andesite in early stage of island arc volcanicity (imma-
ture island arc).
2.1.2. Western Desert BIF
BIF in Western Desert was discovered in two main areas
namely Gabal Nazar and Gabal Kamel. At Gabal Nazar
area, which lies just to the East of the Libyan borders, the
banded iron formation occurs as thin bands (5-10 m)
within amphibolite and quartzo-felsphathic gneisses [12,
38] and takes E-W and NE-SW trend. From economic
point of view, it is less important due to the intrusion of
huge granitic bodies which cut the extension of the ore.
Khalid and Diaf [12,38] recorded some gold anomalies in
this formation. At Gabal Kamel area, BIF was recorded
in the area between latitude 22˚00' to 22˚20' North and
longitude 25˚30' to 26˚40' East, which are covered by
Archean to early Proterozoic rocks [9]. These metamor-
phic rocks include garnet-granulite, mafic granulite,
para-and ortho-gneisses showing intense deformation
manifested by folding and faulting with at least four de-
formation phases [48]. The whole area had undergone
regional metamorphism from garnet granulite to amphi-
bolite facies [4]. Anatexis features are well developed in
the area.
The BIF occurs as strongly folded and faulted bands
within these Archean to Early Proterozoic high grade
metamorphic sequence. The formation attains 300 m
thickness and extends several kilometers in length, Fig-
ure 3 [7,11,39]. This figure shows the patchy formation
of the iron oxide blocks. These blocks are scattered verti-
cally and laterally. Mining of iron oxides in these areas
will be extremely difficult, and removal of the huge in-
ter-bedded quartzite and quartz will be highly costly. It
will require highly advanced selective mining techniques.
BIF in this area is classified according to the mode of
occurrence into three types: 1-well banded type, 2-brec-
ciated type, and 3-ferruginous chert [39]. The well
banded type is the predominant where iron rich bands
(magnetite, hematite, and goethite) alternate with micro-
crystalline silica rich bands (quartz, chert, and jasper).
Mineralogical studies revealed that opaque minerals are
magnetite, hematite, and goethite which are the main
minerals with some sulphides (pyrite, chalcopyrite, ar-
senopyrite, and covellite). Graphite was recorded in some
samples which could be attributed to metamor-phism of
carbonate facies [39]. The chemical analyses show that
iron oxides range between 16% and 55.5% [39]. On the
bases of geographic situation and major structural ele-
ments and mineralogical characteristics, Khattab et al.
[11] classified the BIF in this region into Western, Cen-
tral, and Eastern zones. They came to a conclusion that
the Central and Western parts are, economically, the
most promising areas. All the above mentioned authors
are inclined to consider this type of BIF as lake Superior
opyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Figure 2. Geological map of Um Narbanded iron formation, Eastern Desert, Egypt [45].
Figure 3. Geological map of Area K 7 in Central Zone of Gabal Kamel BIF [11].
to El Harra member of El Haffuf Formation; whereas El
Gedida iron ore belongs to Naqb Formation [50-52]. The
area is covered by Bahariya Formation (unfossiliferous
varicolored sandstone of Cenomanian age) followed by
El Heiz Formation (brownish limestone and sandy clay
beds), and El Haffuf Formation of sandstone, sandy clay,
and ferruginous beds, which are partly taken by the iron
ore deposit, Khuman Formation (chalky limestone), and
Naqb Formation of thick limestone beds with few marl
and clay associations. The iron content in the ironstone
Type of oxide facies and suggested deposition in epicon-
tinental marine basin with free access to the ocean [49].
2.2. Ironstone Deposits
Iron stone is the iron ore which is formed mainly
withinPhanerozoic sediments and is well represented in
Egypt in Bahariya and Aswan iron ores.
Bahariya Iron Ore: Several iron ore deposits are lo-
cated in Bahariya area, e.g., El Harra, El Heiz, Ghorabi,
El Gedida, and Nasser. The iron ore of El Harra belongs
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
deposits ranges from 30% to 58% Fe, and the manganese
content ranges from 0.7% to 7.66% Mn [52].
The stratigraphic position of Naqb Formation is partly
taken by iron ore deposits at El Gedida, El Harra, and
Ghorabi; where El Gedida iron ore member belongs to
iron deposits of Lower Middle Eocene (Naqb Formation)
and the upper Eocene (Abu Maharik Formation. The ore
is localized in the crest of anticline [53].
Origin of Ironstone Ores at Bahariya Oases: The ori-
gin of the existing Ironstone ores was discussed by sev-
eral authors [52-58]. El Shazly [59] assumed that the
Ghorabi iron ore was derived from the chemical weath-
ering of older rocks. El Bassyouny [52], on the bases of
detailed field work, stated that the iron content of El
Harra ironstone deposit increases in iron content towards
the fault and decreases gradually northward, away from
the fault, where ferruginous limestone crops out, and he
believes that the enrichment of iron took place by intense
metasomatism replacement which is believed to had
taken place in post middle Miocene–Eocene time, proba-
bly related to nearby volcanism. On the other hand, El
Aref and Lotfy [55] proposed karst genetic for El Ba-
hariya iron ore, where they suggested that the iron depos-
its were formed through lateritization processes during
the senile stage of post Eocene karst event. Karst depres-
sions and excavated unconformity acted as traps where
iron oxides are accumulated. Iron deposits together with
soil products also form surfacial crust (duricrust), cap-
ping and cementing highly subdued and altered carbonate
rocks. The evolution of megascopic and microscopic ore
fabrics, the oxidation of iron bearing minerals, and their
relation to the gangue and weathering products reflect the
changes in the moisture regimes and the physicochemical
conditions involved during the pedogenesis [55]. Hussein
[32] proposed a very important idea, where he considered
that most of the folds were generated by faulting affili-
ated with the Pelsuium mega-shear along which the Ba-
hariya Oases are located [58]. The present authors are
inclined to believe in this idea where along this zone iron
was recorded by Issawi [59] in Black Hills of high iron
content (up to 38% Fe). More iron discoveries are ex-
pected along this zone especially to the Southward direc-
tion, where the main iron source is Basement rocks
(Banded Iron Formation).
Figure 4, shows a map for Bahariya Oases with its
iron ore localities as related to each other geographically.
Only the exploitable iron ore in Bahariya Oases at El
Gedida area, which has little or no overburden. Origi-
nally, when mining started in this area in 1972, the mi-
nable reserves were estimated accurately by 135 Mt.
Today, the left minable reserves are estimated by only 63
Mt, which are just enough for about 15-20 years at the
present mining rate of 3 to 3.5 Mt/y. The other areas:
Ghorabi, Nasser, El Heiz, and El Harra are of low grade
ores and of high manganese content. In addition, these
areas have relatively thick overburden.
Aswan Iron Ore: Iron ore in this area was known since
Pharaonic time. In recent years it was the main supply of
iron ores for the Egyptian iron and steel industry till 1972
when it was replaced by Bahariya iron ore. According to
Hussein [32], the ore is a bedded oolitic type of Senonian
age in the form of two bands interbedded with ferrugi-
nous sandstone and clay capping Precambrian rocks.
The thickness of the bands varies from 0.2 to 3.5 m. The
main iron minerals are hematite with minor goethite
where quartz, gypsum, halite and clay are gangue miner-
als. The reserve was estimated between 121-135 million
tones with average content of 46.8% Fe [60]. The ore had
been formed under sedimentary lacustrine conditions
during Senonian sedimentation. Aswan iron ores were
used to feed the steel plant at Helwan from its establish-
ment in 1956 until 1972 when the Bahariya iron ore,
from El Gedida area, started to replace Aswan ore in the
iron and steel plant at Helwan.
The potentiality of discovering more iron ore is high
especially in the area between Bahariya Oases in the
North and Uwaynat area in the South on the bases of
geological and structural observations. Reserves and
production of iron ores in Egypt are shown in Table 1. In
this table, it is clear that Egypt is running short of the
available indigenous exploitable iron ores, which is
mainly in El Gedida area, Bahariya Oases, Western De-
sert. The Aswan iron ore is high in phosphorus content,
in addition to its peculiar formation. The Eastern Desert
BIF iron ores are of small quantities (about 50 million
tons in total in all localities) spread in a vast area of
about 200 km2. Uwaynat BIF iron ore has been recently
discovered and not thorough investigations (exploration,
reserve estimation, characterization and /or beneficiation)
have been carried out. In addition, the area is more than
600 km far from the inhabited Nile valley area, with little
or no infra structure. A preliminary project for mining,
processing, and pelletizing of Uwaynat iron ore deposit is
being proposed after the discovery of Uwaynat BIF
deposits [17,38,48]. Pilot scale mineral processing
tests showed that Uwaynat ore may be upgraded to 66 %
Fe at a reasonable recovery [39].
The mining method in all producing locations at pre-
sent is open pit mining [61]. The main iron ore process-
ing plant is at Bahariya Oases (El-Gedida Area) [61].
The plant consists of a jaw crusher followed by a cone
crusher to reduce the run-of-mine ore to the maximum
size required by the sinter plant at Helwan. Of course,
this is waste of energy and cost. The raw ore is trans-
ported, with all its gangue content, from the mine to the
steel plant for a distance of over 300 km. This represents
opyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Figure 4. Geological map of El Bahareya Oases. The important iron minerals lo c a li ties [51].
higher transportation costs, loss of energy in extraction,
lower unit productivity, waste of labor efforts, and so on.
It could have been more beneficial if the ore is concen-
trated in the mine site, i.e., raising the iron content of the
ore from 52 % Fe to 65 % Fe. This will overcome all the
above drawbacks of using the mined ore as it is. There
are modern technologies for upgrading such type of ores.
These technologies include flotation, flocculation/flota-
tion, high intensity magnetic separation, and magnetic
roasting followed by low intensity magnetic separation.
3. Gold in Egypt
Gold is recorded in Egypt in more than 95 occurrences
most of them were mined during Pharaonic age. Fifty
years ago on ward, extensive efforts were done by the
Geological Survey of Egypt (EGSMA) to explore gold in
the old mines areas and their vicinity. The earlier work
was conducted in co-operation with Russian Experts.
Through this exploration work new targets were intro-
duced such as alteration zones around gold bearing
quartz veins and banded iron formation. Also new areas
outside the known old mines were explored such as
South Sinai and South Western Desert [7,38,43,44,62-67
]. Several attempts were done to classify gold minerali-
zations, among these is the early classification mentioned
by Kochin and Bassyouni [28], where they classified this
mineralization on the bases of the mode of occurrence
and nature of mineralization into three types namely:
1-dyke type, 2-vein type, and 3-placer deposit. El Ramly
et al. [68,69] classified the gold deposits according to
their geographic situations into five regions, Figure 5.
Figure 5 shows the scattered occurrences of the ancient
gold localities in the Eastern Desert from Latitude 28ο
North down to 22˚ North. It also shows the five geo-
graphic regions according to El Ramly classification of
the gold deposits in the Eastern Desert. Gold deposits
were classified, based on the tectonic setting models ap-
plied to the evolution of Arabian-Nubian shield, into four
main formations; gold-sulphides formation, skarn gold
ferruginous formations, gold sulphide Formations, and
quartz vein formation. On the bases of tectonic setting
proposed to the evolution of Arabian-Nubian shield,
Botros [70] proposed a classification for gold mineraliza-
tion as summarized in Table 2.
It is obvious from Table 2 that gold mineralization
occurs in almost all the island arc and syn-magmatic
stage. This simply means that there is no specific lithol-
ogy that could be responsible for gold mineralization, but
certain gold mineralization could be hosted in certain
lithology. Up till now, economic gold deposits in Egypt
are related to quartz veins and adjacent alteration zones.
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
Table 1. Iron ores information [27].
Area Location Reserves, M tons
1000 t/yAverage Assay, Fe %Associated constituents Remarks
N-E Aswan
S-E Aswan
West Aswan
Mn, S, P, SiO2, Ti
Eastern Desert
Um Nar
Abu Marwat
Um Khamees
G. Elhadid
Abou Rakab
Um Shaddad
Si,Ti,P,Ca Magnetite+
Bahariya Oases
Uwaynat (BIF)*
15-300 m
Several kms Extention
Black Sands) Rosetta-Rafah400 - 2-3 Si,Ti,Zr,Th, garnet Beach sands
Sinai na 150 Na
* Banded Iron Formation, BIF.
Most of the old mines have dumps and tailings contain-
ing appreciable amount of gold. This may be due to the
primitive technologies existed at that time or due to sud-
den shut down of mines. Gold mineralizations are found
in lithified placers, especially along basement sediments
contact zones, and disseminated gold, which probably
occurs in mafic and intermediate rocks. This postulation
should be tested. In this article, only one example is dis-
cussed here, Barramiya gold mine.
The Barramiya gold mine represents one of the impor-
tant gold mines in central Eastern Desert. It lies in mid-
way between Idfu on the Nile bank and Mersa Alam on
the Red Sea coast. The mineralization is confined to gold
bearing quartz veins and adjacent alteration zone. The
country rocks are mainly composed of ophiolitic mélange
where serpentinite forms a block in the Western part
which is transformed autometasomatically into talc-
carbonate in the central and Eastern part. The mineral-
ized quartz vein traverses actinolite-tremolite schists and
graphite schists. Graphite schists crop out around quartz
vein and may be acted as geochemical barrier and play
essential role in mineralization. Granitoid rocks of calc-
alkaline affinity (G1 type) are intruded in North and
South of the mine area. The quartz vein takes E-W strike
trend with dipping Northward by high angle (75˚-85˚),
and occupy the main axis of syncline. The average thick-
ness of the quartz vein is one meter and extends for about
800 meters. The alteration zone around the vein is about
6 meters thick, and mainly consists of intensively altered
graphite and tremolite-actinolite schists with ferruginous,
sercitization, kaolinazation process. These alterations
form zonations arranged as mentioned. Listweanite was
formed as lenses and bands as a result of combination of
silica and carbonate, and found to be gold bearing spots.
This mine has been subjected to detailed exploration
work by the Geological Survey of Egypt in co-operation
with Russian experts [71]. According to this detailed
study, the average gold in the quartz vein is estimated as
1.59 g/t, alteration zone 2.74 g/t, and listweanite 1.37
g/twith total reserve of 30 tons of gold [72].
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Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities43
Table 2. Classification of gold deposits [70].
Class Type of deposit Tectonic environment Type of
Strata bound deposit a. gold hosted in Algoma type BIF Immature island arc Syngenetic mineraliza-
b. Au hosted in tuffaceous sediments Mature island arc environment
c. Au hosted in volcanogenic
massive sulphide deposits
Non-strata bound
deposits A. vein type mineralization Continental margin environ-
Epigenetic mineraliza-
1- Auriferous quartz vein hosted in metamorphic
rocks and / or granitic surrounded
2- Auriferous quartz veins in sheared
ophiolitic ultramafic rocks
3- Auriferous quartz vein as associated
with porphyry copper
4-Auriferous quartz vein at contact
younger gabbro-granite Intraplate environment
5- Small amounts in quartz veins of
Sn,W,Ta,Nb mineralization
B. Disseminated type hosted in
hydrothermally altered rock
Continental margin and intra-
Placer deposits A. modern placers Intra plate environment
1- Alluvial gold in wadis
2- Beach placers
B. Lithified placer
The most important recent gold activities in Egypt today
are: El Sukkary area (Centamine Limited, Pharaoh gold
mine) and Hamash area (Hamash Company). Table 3 pre-
sents the published information about the two areas [71].
In both areas, El-Sukkari and Hamash, commercial pro-
duction has just started. It is planned that surface mining,
open pit-open cast mining, will be the mining technique.
These are the most economic mining techniques for such
large, low grade (average gold content is 1.5 g/t) ores.
At Hamash, heap leaching will be used for dissolving
the precious metals. The heap leaching will be preceded
by crushing the run-of-mine ore and screening it to pass
10 mm. This screened product will be agglomerated,
using cement as a binder, and piled into heaps. The heaps
will be sprayed with cyanide solution, 0.5% - 1.0 % con-
centration, at pH 10 - 11 for about 80 - 100 days. The
pregnant solution will be passed on activated carbon to
adsorb the precious elements. These elements will be
stripped by hot cyanide solution. Gold winning will be
carried out by electrowinning, followed by gold purifica-
tion to obtain gold bullion containing more than 99.5 %
gold. Although the commercial production at Hamash
has not started yet, pilot scale testing proved the viability
of the process.
At El-Sukkari area, the crushed ore will be finely
ground for agitation leaching. The pregnant cyanide solu-
tion will be treated in a manner similar to that in Hamash
operation. The planned production rate at El Sukkari lo-
cation is about 7 tons of gold per year.
The mineral processing plants in both locations are
quite similar to the conventional world wide techniques.
They are as advanced as they can be.
Recently, gold was discovered at Uwaynat area, G.
Kamel and G. Nazar. The gold assay in this area is up to
14 g/t [7,11,38,48]. This area is recently bided for explo-
ration and exploitation [73].
3.1. Recent Bids for Gold Exploration and
There are Bids that were decided upon in 2007 for gold ex-
ploration and exploitation [73]. These bids are for the loca-
tions of: Um Balad, El-Fawakhier, Fatiri, Abu Mar-wat,
Wadi Kariem, Hodine, Dungash, Uwaynat, and Barramiya.
As a matter of fact, a second bid for gold exploration
and exploitation has been announced to the public for
additional areas in the Eastern Desert.
The Future of gold mining and processing in Egypt is
a bright one. Extensive exploration, mineralogical, petro-
graphic, and processing research work is necessary for
profitable exploitation of the gold resources in Egypt.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
Figure 5. Gold mineralization areas as classified into five
different regions [68,69].
The history of more than 100 ancient gold workings is an
indication of a huge gold source in the subsurface in the
Eastern Desert.
4. Industrial Metal Oxide Deposits
4.1. Tin-Tantalum-Niobium Deposits
Tin-Tantalum-Niobium deposits are genetically related
to late phase of granitic intrusions which generally form
small and simple intrusions of alkali to peralkali intra-
plate anorogenic granites. Most of the Sn, W, Mo,
Nb-Ta,REE,Be and F deposits are associated with this
type. The geological, mineralogical, and geochemical
characteristics of this mineralization let many authors to
propose the metasomatic origin [74]. The famous occur-
rences of this mineralization, which reach the economic
level, are Abu Dabbab, Neuweibi, Muelha, Um Naggat,
and Abu Rusheid. In the present article four areas are
Table 3. Recent active gold projects in Egypt. El Sukkary
and Hamash gold areas information [27].
a- El Sukkary area
InformationGrade, g/t Total amount
of rock, Mt.
Gold content,
M oz.
(Average) 1.42 64.53 2.944
(More than) 2.07 33.43 2.223
(More than) 16.50 0.15 0.082
Grades and
(More than) 40.40 0.15 0.2000
Total at cut off
grade 0.5 g/t(Grand average) 1.48 64.53 3.226
b- Hamash areas
Area Average
grade, g/t
Total amount
of rock, Mt.
Gold content,
M oz
gold, M oz *
Um Tondob0.8 120 3.2 1.2
Ara 1.5 5.0 0.25 0.166
old mine 2.0-4.02.022 0.20225 0.022
Abou Tarda1.5-5.00.34825 0.040825 0.32
Total proved 127.37 3.693075 1.708
probable 0.5-1.02,000 4.0 1.667
mentioned in some details.
Abu Dabbab: It is located about 20 km North of Mersa
Alam in the intersection of latitude 25º20' 27'' N and lon-
gitude 34º 32' 30'' E. The mineralization occupies an area
of about 0.06 km2 forming cone-like shape of 100 m ×
130 m. According to Sabet et al. [74], the tin, Tantalum,
and Niobium mineralization is restricted to apogranite of
the albitite type characterized by complex internal struc-
ture and interrelation of metasomatic facies. This granite
muscovite-microcline-quartz-albite apogranite makes up
the upper, central, and lower facies. The metasomatic
facies of the fissure zones, the greizen zone, and mineral-
ized quartz-feldspar veins are subordinate. Minerallogi-
cally, the ore consists of albite, microcline, quartz, mus-
covite, and topaz. Tantalite-columbite, pyrochlore, cas-
siterite, monazite, zircon, rutile, magnetite, galenite, and
sphalerite are the main ore minerals.
The reserve was estimated by several authors. Sabet et
al. [74] reported reserve as 20.6 million tons according
tocategory C2 with 274 ppm Ta2O5, 270 ppm Nb2O5 and
1080 ppm Sn on the average, whereas Anonymous [75]
stated that the rock reserves of Abu Dabbab is in the or-
der of 40 Mt. Naim et al. [76] reviewed the Abu Dabbab
ore reserves and calculated them as 7.3 million tons of
ore containing 0.0266% Ta2O5, 0.0123% Nb2O5, and
0.0165% SnO2. Gabal Nuweibi ore Latitude 25˚12' N and
Longitude34º 30' E: In this area, the ore is represented by
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Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities45
fine dissemination of tantalite, columbite, with sub-or-
dinate casseterite, fluorite, muscovite, accessory garnet,
zircon, and molybdenite in apogranite rocks. The reserves
are estimated by Naim et al., [76] as 114.7 million tons
of low grade ore with 161 ppm Ta2O5, and 91 g /t Nb2O5
Um Naggat: It is located in wadi Um Gheig, South of
Qusseir. It is composed of albitized and greizenized
pockets in granitic rocks. Tantalite and columbite occur
as disseminated minerals in the pockets at assays of
0.022% Ta2O5 and 0.2% Nb2O5.
Abu Rusheid: The ore in this area is represented by
disseminations of columbite, casseterite, monazite, xeno-
time, fluorite, zircon, thoragen, and microcline in mica
apogranite rocks. The mineralized rock formation is the
upper most part of the pssammitic gneiss that was sub-
jected to metasomatic alteration. The analysis of core
samples reflect that the ore contains 0.3% Nb2O5 and
0.033% Ta2O5.
4.2. Tin-Tungsten-Molybdenum
This type of mineralization was grouped by Hussein [32]
as deposits associated with granitic rocks generally of G2
and G3 types. Igla is an example of the tin-tungsten ores
near Mersa Alam, Eastern Desert [77].
Molybdenum mineralization: It occurs as disseminated
and vein type at Gabal Gattar, Abu Marwa, Abu Harba,
Um Disi and Homer Akarm [68,32]. Molybdenum miner-
als are associated with casseterite forming lateral zonation
started by Molybdenum and followed by Tin minerals.
Tungsten mineralization: Tungsten minerals occur
usually in association with tin minerals in Muelha and
Igla where in the latter area, Sn reaches up to 0.5 % and
W up to 0.06%. Also tungston associates Sn in Abu
Dabbab. There are some areas where W is the principal
mineral like in Abu Hammad, and Um Bisilla [32].
Tin mineralization: Tin occurs as disseminated and
vein type in Muelha, Abu Hammad, Fatira, Abu Kharif,
Abu Dabbab, and Nuweibi. At Muelha area the granite is
subjected to metasomatism and the rock is albitized and
altered to albite-microcline-quartz-Li-mica rock. Grei-
sens form lenses and quartz veins with some impregna-
tions of fluorite, cassiterite, powellite and Cu-Fe sul-
Tin in placer deposits: Tin was reported in several ar-
eas in Eastern Desert especially in the areas around the
main sources. Among these areas, Igla is the famous [77]
which lies west of Mersa Alam. The geological reserves
were calculated by Anwar et al. [78] as 245000 tons as
category D3 and as 170 000 tons Sn on D2 category.
Tin-tantalum-niobium ore at Abu Dabbab is a joint
venture between Egypt and Gibbsland Co [79]. It is
called Abu-Dabbab tantalum-tin-feldspar Project. The
reserves are estimated by 40 Mt of ore. The feasibility
study is based upon a design throughput of 1.26 Mt/y,
which is expected to go up to 2 Mt/y. In the first stage,
the production is estimated to be about 195 t/y Ta2O5
along with 980 t/y of tin metal during the first 20 years of
production. The technical information about this joint
venture is tabulated in Table 4, which presents the re-
serves in the close by locations in Abu Dabbab Valley.
These reserves are large enough compared with similar
worldwide Tin-tantalum-niobium ores in the world. It is
now in the stage of development and site preparation [80].
It is planned that the ore will be mined by a surface min-
ing technique. The capacity of the mineral processing
units will be of about 2 million tons/year. The processing
plant will consist of a size reduction section (crushing
and grinding using jaw crushers, and a SAG mill), flota-
tion, and magnetic separation followed by a dewatering
system to produce concentrations of tin and tantalum-
niobium oxides products. The Ta-Nb Product will be
used to produce Ta-Nb ferroalloys, Ta oxide, Nb oxide,
and ferroniobium alloys [80]. The 40 Mt Abu Dabbab
project is owned by the Egyptian registered company
Tantalum Egypt,in which Gibbsland has a 50% interest by
way of an incorporated joint venture with the Egyptian
5. Titanium Ores
The main source of titanium in Egypt is ilmenite. Ilmen-
ite is present in a rock form in different localities in the
Eastern Desert, and in the black sands on the Eastern part
of the Mediterranean Coast. Titanium ores information
are presented in Table 5.
5.1. Ilmenite and Titaniferous Iron Ores (Rock
Ilmenite and titaniferous iron ores exist in Egypt in at
least 10 localities with several dimensions. They are al-
ways associated with gabbroic rocks and formed by seg-
Table 4. Tin-Tantalum-Niobium ores information [79,80].
AreaLocation Reserves,
M tons
1000 t/y Average Content,
Um Naggat
Abu Rusheid
0.027 % Ta2O5,
0.020 % Nb2O5,
0.017 % Sn.
0.017 %Ta2O5,
0.015 % Nb2O5,
0.022 % Ta2O5,
0.200 % Nb2O5.
0.033 % Ta2O5,
0.300 % Nb2O5.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
regation. Among these areas are Abu Ghalaqa, Korab-
kanci, Kolmnab, Abu Dahr, and Um Effin. The two most
economically promising deposits are those located at
Abu Ghalaqa and Korabkanci.
Abu Ghalaqa ilmenite: This area lies 17 km South
West of Abu Ghosoun port on the Red Sea coast and 100
km South of Mersa Alam city. The Ilmenite deposit is the
largest among the ilmenite localities in Egypt. It is con-
fined to gabbroic mass and occurs as a sheet-like body
taking NW-SE and SE trend, and dips 30˚ to the NE di-
rection. The main ilmenite mass forms a big lens with
exposed length about 300 m, and an average width of
about 150 m. The detailed studies given by Hussein [32]
revealed the presence of three types of ilmenite ore:
1-Red ore or oxidized zone on the surface,
2- Black ore or the main body, and
3-Disseminated ore
The mineralogical studies showed that the ore con-
tains the following minerals:
Ilmenite 67.4% - 68.8%
Hematite 13% - 18%
Secondary hematite 15%
Pyrite 0.13% - 2.1%
Other minerals 4% - 11%
The overall chemical analysis of the ore is:
Oxide oxidized zone fresh ore
TiO2 37.09% - 41.04% 33.9% - 37.65%
Fe2 O3 17.47% - 23.0% 6.34% - 23.85%
FeO 27.93% - 35.63% 25.94% - 31.33%
V2 O5 0.3%1 - 0.38% 0.29% - 0.39%
Korabkanci titano-magnetite ore: This area lies in the
South East corner of Egypt. According to Makhlouf et al.
[81], the ore occurs as seven layers concordant with lay-
ered mafic-ultramafic assemblage. These layers are of
steep exposure that dips mostly 80º - 90º to the East. The
ore bands occur in parallel layers taking NNE-SSW and
extend to about 2 500 m with width 50 - 80 m. The de-
posit exhibits medium to coarse grained texture. Miner-
alogically, it is composed of titano-magnetite, ilmenite,
hematite, goethite, sulphides with some olivine gangue.
The ore could be classified into massive and disseminated
ore according to the percentage of opaque minerals in the
rock. The massive part of the ore contains about 80% or
Table 5. Titanium and titaniferous iron ores [27,41].
Area Reserves,
M tons
1000 t/y
Ti O2 %
Red Sea
Coast 40 120 30 - 38 Fe2O3,SiO2,
400 - 2 - 3
more of opaque minerals.
5.2. Black Sands
Black sands in Egypt are beach placers deposited from
the Nile stream during flood seasons reaching the Medi-
terranean Sea at river mouth. It spreads on the beach East
of Rashid branch of the Nile and extends east to Rafah
passing through El Arish coastal plains [40]. Figure 6
shows the geographic distribution of the black sands in
Egypt. They spread along the Mediterranean Sea shore
from Alexandria West to Rafah East. The black sands
contain some economic minerals such as ilmenite, hema-
tite, rutile, magnetite, zircon, garnet, and monazite. Some
areas were studied in details and are briefly summarized
Rashid East: This area is located 6 km North East of
Rashid, where the area is generally flat. Heavy concen-
trated black sands are deposited in a thin mantle near and
parallel to the shoreline. The thickness of the deposited
layer ranges from 0.5 m to more than 40 m. The concen-
tration and extension of the black sands to the West of
Rashid are of negligible economic value. According to
Naim et al. [41], the reserves of economic minerals at
Rashid area are as follows (in 1000 tons):
Ilmenite 2087
Magnetite 1437
Hematite 214
Zircon 81
Rutile 29
Garnet 72
Monazite 31
Sulphides 86
Heavy silicates 1315
The ore shows lateral variations where the high con-
centrate occurs in the West and decreases gradually to
the East.
Al Arish and Rommana areas: These areas extend
from 2 km West of Al Arish to the East of Sabkhat El
Bardaweel over an area of 18 km2. The total reserves in
this area, to a depth of 1 m, are about 88 million tons
with 1.1 million tons as proved ore. The proved reserves
to a depth of 10 m are estimated by 3 million tons of ore.
The concentration and extension of the black sands to the
East of Al Arish are negligible.
The ilmenite load, at Abu Ghalaqa, is about 100 meter
above the wadi level and extends to more than 200 m
below the wadi level. The wadi level itself is at about
240 m above Sea Level. The major lens covers an area of
150 m × 300 m. The present status of mining technol-
ogy is an open cast above the wadi level [1,40,82].
The Abu Ghalaqa ore is being mined by surface min-
ing. The benches are drilled, charged, and blasted. To
facilitate loading, transporting, and crushing, secondary
opyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Figure 6. Locations of the Egyptian Blac k Sand de posits between Rashid and Rafah on the Mediterranean Sea Coast [41].
blasting is applied on the oversize boulders. The ore is
transported to the upgrading plant near by (about 500 m).
In future it is thought to use underground mining for the
lowed part of the load (below the Wadi level) to reduce
the cost of overburden removal.
The grade of the ilmenite ore at Abou Ghalaqa is
slightly upgraded by manual hand picking of some of the
gangue minerals depending on difference in colors. The
ore is then crushed and screened to produce different size
fractions according to the end use. The only use for this
ore at the time being is for coating the oil-transport pipes
running under the sea water, i.e., is used as heavy gravel
in the concrete used for coating the oil-pipes under sea
water. Laboratory experiments, up to the pilot scale,
show that gravity separation, magnetic separation, and
flotation produce concentrates assaying up to 43 % TiO2.
There are several researches for extracting titanium slag
or titanium metal from the upgraded ore, but the results
are not encouraging due to the low content of TiO2 in the
Black sands are dredged or scraped, piled, and trans-
ported to a jungle of Humphrey spirals to scavenge out
most of the green sands. The concentrate is sent to the
processing plant for separating the heavy constituents
For the black sands, there was a plant in Alexandria
for concentrating the black sands and separating its vari-
ous constituents. This continued until 1970, after which
the plant was shut down due to technical problems, envi-
ronmental considerations as well as market saturation for
the products. Nowadays, there is a pilot plant at Rosetta
for developing a proper flow sheet to produce market
grade products.
The main flow sheet for black sand consists of a grav-
ity separation step to get rid of most of the green sands,
followed by a low intensity wet magnetic separator to
separate magnetite. The non-magnetic fraction is oven
dried to be prepared for the electrostatic separation step
that separates ilmenite. In a second electrostatic step,
rutile is separated. After separation of rutile, the rest is
taken to shaking tables to separate garnet and monazite
and reject the rest of the green sands.
6. Manganese Ores
Manganese ores occur in Egypt in two major localities
beside other several small occurrences [83]. The eco-
nomic deposits of manganese are Um Bogma in Sinai
and Elba in South Eastern Desert.
Um Bogma area lies in Central Western Sinai Man-
ganese occurs as lenses and lensoidal bodies with differ-
ent dimensions within Carboniferous sediments of Um
Bogma formation. The ore shows sudden contact with
dolomitic rocks and reflects stratiform type [30]. Mart
and Sass [84] classified the ore into two facies dolomite
facies and silty facies and they are inclined to shallow
marine environmental deposition of the ore on one hand.
On the other hand Attia [83] and others believed that the
ore was formed during metasomatic hydrothermal proc-
ess. The more recent work again supports the sedimenta-
tion origin [32].
Elba Manganese ore occurs within sedimentary rocks
of Miocene age in about 24 locations in Shalateen plain.
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
Manganese forms vein like type striking N 120 and N
130 in a zone of 7 km width and 70 km long. El Shazly
[30] proposed weathering products of basement rocks
rich in manganese as a source of the ore which deposited
in fissures and cracks with some replacement along frac-
ture walls. Basta and Saleeb [85] suggested epigenetic
origin in low temperature where manganese oxides pre-
vailed and absence of silica, carbonate and sulphides
which manifested in near surface deposition. Other Mn
occurrences are recorded in Wadi Malik near Ras Banas
and Abu Shaar El Qibli in Southern part of Esh El Mal-
laha range [3,32]. The reserves and production are given
in Table 6.
Manganese is mined in the different localities by un-
derground methods, mainly room and pillar. In the ex-
posed outcrops it is mined by surface mining techni-
ques. The iron oxides are highly disseminated in the
manganese oxide matrix, which makes the possibility of
upgrading the ore is limited.
The only processing steps carried out on the manga-
nese ores are crushing and screening. The prepared ore is
mixed with some imported high grade manganese ore
and fed to the smelter at Abu Zonaima, Sinai to produce
ferromanganese alloys [86]. The fines, under size frac-
tions, are piled in dump areas. It is expected that agglom-
eration and magnetic roasting, followed by low intensity
magnetic separation may improve the grade of the man-
ganese ore in the rejected fines, which in turn may in-
crease the manganese recovery.
7. Sulfide Mineralization in Egypt
7.1. Lead-Zinc Deposits
This type is located in Phanerozoic sediments and crops
out in seven areas in the Southern part in the Eastern De-
sert on the Red Sea Coast namely: Zug El Behar, Asel,
Wizr, Um Gheig, Abu Anz, Gabal El Rusas, and Ranga
[30,36,57,87]. It is restricted to lower part of Gabal El
Rusas Formation which unconformally located on the
Precambrian rocks in Zug El Behar and Asel areas. In the
other occurrences the mineralization belongs to Upper
Abu Dabbab Formation.
The primary sulphides are galena, sphalerite, pyrite,
marcasite which are transformed on the surface to ceru-
site, anglesite, smithosnite, hydrozincite, jarosite, and
limonite. Many authors are inclined to propose that the
replacement of limegrit by cold hydrothermal solutions
as the main origin of this mineralization. El Shazly [30]
and El Ramly et al. [68] suggested synsedimentary ori-
gin, whereas Hilmy et al. [88] pointed to the exhalative
sedimentary origin. On the basis of detailed work on Um
Gheig, Asel, and Zug El Behar areas, El Aref and
Amstutz [89] classified the mineralization into two
groups: 1) Pb-Zn as filling type in Um Gheig and Wizr,
and 2) stratiform galena in Zug el Behar and Asel. The
ore is restricted on the filling mass extend along the rift
taking NW-SE intercontinental rift and not necessarily to
be related to magmatic activity accompanying the rift.
The Geological Survey of Egypt estimates the reserves in
Um Gheig as 1.5 million tons with an average assay of
13.8% Zn and 2.3% Pb.
7.2. Copper Sediments
Several occurrences of copper were recorded in Phanero-
zoic sediments in Centre and West Sinai as secondary
malachite and in some places mixed with Manganese
(90). The reserves are limited.
7.3. Cu-Ni-Co Deposits
This type of mineralization is well represented in Abu
Swayel and El Geneina in South Eastern Desert. The ore
is closely related to mafic-ultramafic and gabbro of
ophiolitic rocks.
Abu Swayel deposit is located about 185 km South
Aswan. The main mineralized zone contains massive and
dissimenated deposit type being hosted in amphibolite
rocks, surrounded by biotite schists which could be rep-
resenting the metamorphosed equivalent of ophiolitic
gabbro and basalt [32]. The main minerals are pyrite,
pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, pentlandite, violarite, and ilmen-
ite. Malachite occurs in the oxidized zone. The reserves
are estimated as 185 000 tons containing 2.8% Cu and
1.57% Ni and minor concentration of Cobalt [32].
El Geneina deposit is located in the intersection of
Latitude 23º57'N and Longitude 34º37' E where gossans
with Cu and Ni do exist. Malachite and garnierite
stained gossans are associated with thrust slicks of mafic
rocks. Ore minerals are pyrite, pyrrohotite, and chalcopy-
rite. The metal assays are 0.17 % Cu and 0.38 % Ni [32].
Table 6. Manganese ores information [27].
Area Location Reserves, M tons Produc., 1000 t/y Average Content, MnO2 Associated constituents
Esh El-Mallahah
W. Ma’alik
G.Elba & Abou Ramad
Fe2 O3, SiO2, clays
Sinai Abou Zunima 5 120 38 Fe2 O3, SiO2, clays
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Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities49
7.4. Cu-Ni Sulphide
This type of mineralization occurs in gabbro rocks at
Akarm (24º00'N and 34º17'E). The mineralization exhib-
its both massive and disseminated types within norite,
melanorite, and peridotite. The surface expression clearly
shows the presence of three zones of gossans which
could be related to three sulphide bands. The total re-
serves of this location are estimated as 700 000 tons with
0.95 % Cu-Ni [32].
7.5. Stratiform Massive Sulphides
This type of mineralization is represented by a group of
small deposits in South Eastern Desert, e.g., Um Samuki,
Helgit, Maakal, Darheeb, Abu Gurdi, Egat, and Al At-
Um Samuki deposit lies in the intersection of latitude
24º14' N and long 34º30 E. It is Zn-Cu-Pb deposit. The
area is mainly built of cal-alkaline island arc volcanics
andesite and their pyroclastics. As a result of these min-
eralization conditions, the area received intensive studies.
These studies attribute the mineralization to epigenetic
process, where it was introduced by hydrothermal solu-
tions along shear zones developed by replacement of pre-
existing rocks. On the contrary of epigenetic hydrother-
mal deposition, Hussein et al. [91] and Hussein [32] be-
lieved that this deposit is a massive sulphide body which
was deposited during the Abu Hamamid volcanics epi-
sode on the top of submarine volcanic vent system and
the sedimentation took place conformally with the en-
closing rocks at the interface between the volcanic pile
and sea water. The ore bodies overlay a stock work of
altered rocks resulting from intensive metasomatic ef-
fects induced by the ascending volcanic exhalation on the
channel ways through which they ascended [91]. The ore
body in the Western part assays 2.2 % Cu, 21.6 % Zn,
0.5 % Pb and 109 g/t Ag with total reserves of 200 000
tons [92] while the Eastern part is less in metal content
where Cu posses 1.8 %, Zn 13.6 % ,and Pb 3.4 %.
There are no mining activities in the sulphide miner-
alization areas except at Um Ghaig where the production
is at very small scale. Some of these localities were ex-
ploited by the Ancient Egyptians and used in manufac-
turing metallic alloys such as brass and bronze. The rest
of the sulfide ores in Egypt exists in small quantities,
which can not be exploited economically nowadays.
8. Chromite Deposits
Chromite deposits occur as small lenses of podiform
within serpentinite rocks of ophiolitic sequences at Gabal
Moqassem, Um El Tiyur, Sul Hamid, Um Krush, Wadi
Himur, Abu Dahr, Wadi Ghadir, Um Khariga and others.
Most of these locations lie South of Latitude 26º N [32].
The majority of these ores are exhausted. The origin of
chromite is attributed to early crystallization followed by
crystal settling from basic magma at spreading centers
during the formation of new oceanic crust which tectoni-
cally emplaced during accretion prior to cratonization
No large scale exploitation is reported in any of the
mentioned chromite occurrences. It is well known that
chromite ores can be beneficiated by gravity separation
and/or flotation depending on the ore constituents and the
economic liberation size.
9. Possible Areas for Investment in Mineral
Industry in Egypt
The following areas are open for serious investment in
the mineral industry, metallic commodities, in Egypt:
1) Mining and Mineral Processing of iron ores at:
Uwaynat (Western Desert), Eastern Desert, Baharya
Oases, and Aswan.
2) Integrated iron and steel industry.
3) Exploitation of ilmenite ores in the feasible areas.
4) Evaluation and exploitation of Beach Black Sands
for their strategic hevy minerals.
5) Exploration, Mining, Processing, and Extraction of:
gold, tin, tantalum, and niobium.
10. Conclusions
The mineral resources in Egypt are plenty. However, it
could be multiples of the known reserves if the appropri-
ate subsurface exploration technology is used. Extrapola-
tion of the available geological data suggests that with
some additional geological efforts, clear ideas could be
obtained about new mineral findings and/or extension of
the existing deposits. As has been presented above, the
simple primitive mining and mineral processing tech-
niques limit the production capacity and produce inferior
quality products, which lead to waste of resource, high
cost of extraction, and low quality product.
Most of the metallic mining activities in Egypt are in
the form of small operations, except for iron ore, which
is reflected on the production cost being high. The most
that is being done on any of the exploited commodities to
upgrade or clean them is crushing, grinding, screening
and sometimes grading and/or classification. Very little
up-to-date technology in this area is being adopted. The
concept of added value in the mineral industry in Egypt
is almost missing. As a result, the low grade mineral
products from such simple treatment are being marketed
locally or exported. Consequently, the exported low
grade mineral commodities are sold at ridiculously low
prices because of reluctance to up date the technology. It
is recommended that large scale mining operations and
processing plants, on the bases of advanced technology,
are to be introduced and implemented in the mineral in-
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Mineral Industry in Egypt-Part I: Metallic Mineral Commodities
dustry in Egypt. These will lead to improved quality,
lower cost products, and more organized and inter-
related mining systems.
11. Acknowledgements
The Authors would like to thank their colleagues who
offered all kinds of help to them. Among those are Dr. A.
A. Negm, Dr. M. A. El Wageeh, Dr. A. Dardir, and Mr.
Wafae W. Ghobrial. They provided the Authors with
valuable information, and discussed the scientific mate-
rial with them. Thanks are also extended to Dr. G. Oz-
bayoglu and Dr. A. I. Arol from the Middle East Techni-
cal University at Ankara, Turkey for suggesting the topic
and inviting one of the Authors, Dr. Abouzeid, to present
the content of this article at their 11th International Min-
eral Processing Symposium at Belek-ANTALYA, TUR-
KEY (October, 2008). Great thanks and appreciation are
due to Miss. Eanass A. Abouzeid for her help in prepar-
ing the Figures and putting the manuscript in its final
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