The Golden Triangle is located between Qena, Safaga, and Al-Qusayr, an area rich in mining sources that make up 75% of Egypt’s mining minerals.
Farouk Al-Baz was the first person to create an integrated plan to develop the area. He proposed his plan to the officials of the ousted Mubarak regime, but no steps were taken toward its implementation.
After the 25 January Revolution, the project was once again set aside, with no effort made towards its execution. When Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took the office of the presidency, he instructed the cabinet to put the Golden Triangle development project at the top of its priorities for national projects awaiting implementation.
The project will be implemented over an area of 2.7m acres and aims to establish a new industrial capital by building an industrial, commercial, mineral, and touristic zone to serve, not only Egypt, but the African continent.
The region is rich in metallic and non-metallic minerals, including iron, copper, gold, silver, granite, and phosphate, which are involved in the manufacture of many high economic industries. Mining for these minerals will be used as part of the establishment of new industries. The areas in which these minerals were mined in ancient times, which includes the old road that pilgrims used to reach Mecca, will create touristic destinations, will be developed as new touristic locations.
Ismail Gaber, the head of the Industrial Development Authority, told Daily News Egypt that the Golden Triangle development project is considered the second largest project that will aid in developing Egypt’s economy due to the high income expected from the area once it is developed.
The implementation of the project will begin following the announcement of the proposal details, which is expected to take place in June, Gaber added. The project aims to attract new Arab and foreign investment, in addition to local investment, to enhance the value of the region.
“Recently, the cabinet, in coordination with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, is reviewing a proposal that suggests the establishment of an international brand bearing the name and slogan of the project, which will be used to export all the products from this project to the world. This step would increase the returns of the project in future,” Gaber revealed.
Gaber added that the development of this region is expected to create 200,000 job opportunities in the first phase of the project.
Despite the importance of the new project, a conflict between the technical committee for the Golden Triangle development project and the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) has led to a delay in the project proposal announcement, which was originally expected in February.
The National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS) is one of the entities responsible for preparing scientific and geological studies for such areas. Studies are completed regardless of the feasibility of any project being established in such zones.
Mamdouh Abdeen, a NARSS board member and one of the participants preparing all geological studies of the zone, said that the Golden Triangle will create a new integrated industrial society in the region and will have all necessary features to make the area a developed community, including water sources, roads, and electricity.
The location itself, sandwiched between the Nile and the Red Sea and bordered by two vital roads, Qena Safaga Road and Qena Qeft Road, gives the project a promising opportunity to create jobs and small economic entities in many areas.
“The region also has the Valley of Qena, which is considered the largest valley in Egypt in terms of space. It is renowned for having large amounts of rainfall and arable soil. The amount of water in the valley can be used to establish a number of dams that could benefit agriculture. The area is also well suited for the establishment of fish farming and other promising projects, especially since Safaga has a large number of fish,” Abdeen explained.
The region also has mining possibilities, including gold, iron, phosphate, and other minerals which are beneficial to the manufacturing of ceramics, marble, porcelain, glass, and the manufacturing of construction and cement materials. This mining wealth will allow the region to set up new factories that produce cement, glass, silicon, chemicals, and computer chips.
Abdeen warned, however, that the mining wealth in this region is vulnerable to theft because of the neglect of the region over the years. Alfoackher mine, for example, one of the most famous gold mines in Egypt, located on the road to Qeft Al-Qusayr, stopped working nearly 60 years ago in 1956 because of President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s decision to nationalise the industry.
As for the gold wealth in thzone Golden Triangle, Abdeen pointed out that the Eastern Desert includes 120 mining sites. The Golden Triangle area alone comprises 20% of that number.
“The region is rich with tourist attractions that set the foundation for a number of tourism projects that will promote Egyptian tourism,” Abdeen expmained. “One example is Qena Qeft Road, which was a road of pilgrimage in the past. This road is full of control points that once secured the pilgrims on their journey. Another tourism opportunity lies in the many inscriptions and pharaonic drawings on the road to Qena Safaga, a possible destination for organised tours. The road also contains biggest large mine for a stone called “Alsamiqaa Imperial”, and is full of stones that the Roman Empire used to decorate their temples. ”
An official source in the committee explained to Daily News Egypt that EMRA did not want D’Appolonia, the Italian company that prepared the proposal, to have any information about the mineral wealth in the Golden Triangle region or to conduct any studies related to this as these studies are very expensive and D’Appolonia will be able to obtain them for free.
The source added that EMRA refused to assign the preparation of the proposal to a foreign company on the grounds that information regarding Egyptian mineral wealth is considered as national security information, which foreign entities are banned from knowing.
On the other hand, EMRA Chairperson Omar Toema said that mining is one of the most important industries that the Golden Triangle development will be established on, and D’Appolonia will set in place the kind of industries and investments that could be established according to the nature of the region.
“We provide D’Appolonia with all allowed information; there is not a conflict between us. However, the new law that organises the mineral wealth made EMRA the only authority in Egypt to have the right to exploit all minerals areas across the country, including the Golden Triangle region.”