The revolution in Egypt and the current tension in the Middle East put this country again in the world’s focus. Currently, there is only one gold production site in Egypt, the Sukari Hills that was recently discovered. Are there any possible gold deposits in Egypt?
Egyptian geologists debated on how much gold the pharaohs consumed. They started from a well-known fact; there is no gold in Sinai Peninsula, Western Desert, and northern parts of the Eastern Desert. Since these areas are not suitable to have gold deposits, from the geological perspective. That leaves the center and south of Egypt’s Eastern desert. These areas are the most suitable to have gold deposits, where there are many ancient mines.
Even with the technological edge we have now, we haven’t discovered any mine the pharaohs haven’t touched yet in Egypt. Maher Azmi, an Egyptian geologist, said that the ancient Egyptians mined most of the rich gold ore deposits extracting more than 80 gm. of gold from one ton of rocks, leaving only deposits with gold ores less than 2 gm. of gold per ton of rocks. He said that if extracting these left-overs was fiscal, then it’s worth expanding investments and mining operations in these vast left-overs of gold. Note that the South-African gold mines operate on ores producing about 0.5 gm. of gold per ton.
The pharaohs had the knowledge of what we call today the “Know-How”, he added. There is no evidence on pharaohs importing gold to consume, and there are ancient mines dates back to their age, which drive us to conclude that they used the Egyptian reserve of gold.
All of the +100 pharaohs’ mines are designed on a modern principle. Modern studies of the 80s found out that gold ores occur in three basic patterns. These patterns are found in ultramafic, mafic and igneous rocks in sulphide deposits. These sulphide deposits decompose with granitic rocks to form quartz veins rich in gold. That’s how the pharaohs extracted their gold in these archaic mines.
The good news is, pharaohs didn’t have GPSs or other underground-scanning technologies, which makes it possible that there is still gold underground they didn’t possess the technology to discover it. This is Egypt’s only hope for having a gold mine. But these areas need fiscal assessments and new expeditions to discover this gold, if there is any left.
The ancient Egyptians added mining to their long list of mysteries. How they obtained their knowledge in mathematics, mummification, engineering, medicine, and other sciences? Where did all this knowledge go? That remains another unsolved mystery.