Despite a history of gold mining that stretches back to the pharaohs, Egypt's mines have been largely dormant. Hayley Platt reports of how renewed interest from investors has Egypt's government anticipating a 5 percent contribution to GDP within 10 years.
There's little to attract the eye here - but it's what's below that counts. Under this dusty landscape in Egypt's Eastern Desert lies hidden treasure. And this geologist is intent on finding it. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GEOLOGIST AT ALEXANDER NUBIA, LEONARD KARR, SAYING: "A variety of minerals are found here, principally gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc, and massive sulfide and organic gold deposits but there's others, there's occurrences of tungsten and molybdenum, possibly others." Egypt's gold mines dates back to the pharaohs. Openings like this one scattered across the dessert..... - said to stretch as far as Saudi Arabia and Eritrea But most have been mothballed. Now Egypt's government wants its gold mining industry restored. And hopes it will contribute upwards of 5 percent of GDP within 10 years. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF ALEXANDER NUBIA, MARK CAMPBELL, SAYING: "I think that the government needs to be more proactive in promoting the area because I think that it has enormous potential. They understand that they need to create an investment environment t hat will make it attractive for companies to come and they're doing that." Bringing the mines back into the 21st century and fit for purpose is no easy task - or cheap either. Capital costs can stretch over decades needing hundreds of millions of dollars in investment. The Arab Spring didn't help either. But neither have put off Alexander Nubia. The company is just one of three active explorers in Egypt. It began its hunt for precious minerals here in 2011. Next year it expects that mine to bear fruit. Then it's on to the next one - which it hopes to complete by 2019.