5 mining staff given power of judicial arrest due to illegal excavation
In this Friday, April 15, 2016 photo, shows rocks analyzed for their concentration of gold, at the Hamama camp in Egypt's eastern desert, between Luxor and Hurghada. Essential for ancient artifacts like the famed burial mask of Tutankhamun and still highly desired in Middle Eastern culture today, gold has been mined in Egypt for millennia. But experts say the country is heavily underexplored and that modern technology now allows much deeper excavation of the ancient sites shown on Pharaonic treasure maps. If developed, gold and mineral mining could prove a boon to the country at a time it is desperate for foreign currency, and provide jobs for its burgeoning population of 90 million. (AP Photo/Brian Rohan)

CAIRO: Five employees at government-run mining projects and quarries in Luxor were granted the power of judicial arrest due to illegal mining in the area, Youm7 reported Wednesday.

General Director of the mining administration Bahaa al-Din Boghdady and Undersecretary Mohamed Abbadi were among those granted the authority by Minister of Justice Hossam Abdel Reheem, as well as a geologist engineer and two technical supervisors.

The desert in Luxor expanding to the Red Sea in the east is an area for illegal mining, usually in search for raw gold. The area hosts Sukari mine, a large gold mine southeast of Egypt near the Red Sea shore.

In November 2015, 15 Sudanese people were released after they were arrested on charges of illegal gold excavation in Wadi el-Gemal reserve (Camels Valley) in Marsa Alam, southeastern Egypt. They were arrested in Hangaliya Valley with 16 sacks of rocks mixed with raw gold.

Head of the legal affairs of the Wadi el-Gemal protectorate told Youm7 in November that some people mine illegally in the area and grind the rocks back home then put them in water mixed with mercury to separate the gold. He added that a ton of rocks, which usually include quartz, can produce 50 grams of gold.

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