Contextual Overview, Gabal Elba Protected Area (GEPA), Egypt

  • Barrick Gold Corporation (the Client) is initiating activities in its newly acquired gold mining concession in Egypt, located within Gabal Elba Protected Area (GEPA). Given the high sensitivity and unique biophysical and social features of the area, the Client commissioned Environics to prepare a brief and concise report on the main characteristics of the protected area, highlighting its main features and sensitivities.
  • Due to GEPA’s location in a border area, a restricted zone that requires difficult-to-obtain military permits, the possibility of performing field studies during the last years has been limited. In this respect, the report relied on the most recent available information and data from published material, previous reports, and analysis of satellite images.
  • In this respect, Environics prepared a brief desktop report composed of two main sections:
    • A section on the national regulatory framework, describing the relevant national environmental laws and regulations to which the project should abide, as well as international conventions to which Egypt is a party in order to identify the limits and/or constraints of the development; and
    • A review and analysis of desktop information collected from available literature and other desk studies and reports to provide concise physical, biological and socio-economic baseline information on the GEPA, highlighting constraints and sensitivities.

The baseline section included a description of the GEPA terrestrial, coastal and marine habitats, terrestrial flora and fauna, local communities as well as ecosystem services provided by the area. Data and information specific to the project site and immediate surroundings were mainly extrapolated from the collected information. Illustrative maps, prepared through the analysis of recent satellite images, were used to complement desktop information.

Moreover, the report provided an analysis of the main bio-physical and social constraints and sensitivities as well as a set of recommendations to be considered by the project management to avoid or reduce potential impacts on the surrounding receptors.

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