Crude petroleum, which accounts for about one-half of export earnings, is the most important mineral product of Egypt. Production was about 26.4 million barrels annually in the early 1960s. As a result of the discovery in the 1950s and 1960s of large new fields in the Al ‘Alamayn and Gulf of Suez areas, and a major exploration effort in the 1970s, annual production of crude petroleum increased to approximately 312.2 million barrels in the early 1990s. Proven reserves stood at 6.2 billion barrels in 1992 as Egypt renewed exploration, signing 12 agreements with foreign companies to drill new wells. The country is encouraging natural gas production to supply domestic energy needs, with annual extraction in the early 1990s of 11.6 billion cu m (410 billion cu ft).
Other important products of the mining industry in the early 1990s included phosphate rock (1.5 million metric tons), iron ore (1.2 million tons metal content), and salt (1.1 million tons). Uranium ore began to be mined near Aswan in 1991.
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