The Egyptian Iron and Steel Production Complex began operations in 1973
Egypt has reserves of manganese, nickel, chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, tungsten, gallium, copper, lead, zinc, and magnesium, as well as minerals. The main Metals used in ancient Egypt were copper, gold, silver, and iron.
The Egyptian Iron and Steel Production Complex began operations in 1973 and increased its production capacity to two million tons per year in 1993.
The Egyptians learned how to work metals from an early period, and all agree that 5,000 years ago, the Ancient Egyptians had already developed the techniques of mining, refining, and metalworking. Ancient Egypt did not have several kinds of mineral ores, such as silver, copper, tin, lead, etc. , even though they produced large quantities of electrum (an alloy of gold and silver), copper, and bronze alloys. The Ancient Egyptians used their expertise to explore for mineral ores in Egypt and in other countries. Ancient Egypt had the means and knowledge to explore for needed mineral ores, establish mining processes, and transport heavy loads for long distances by land and sea. Because it being was largest and richest population in the ancient world, Egypt imported huge quantities of raw materials; and in return exported large quantities of finished goods. The Ancient Egyptians’ finished metallic and non-metallic products are found in tombs throughout the Mediterranean Basin, European, Asiatic and African countries. The Egyptians possessed considerable knowledge of chemistry and the use of metallic oxides, as manifested in their ability to produce glass and porcelain in a variety of natural colors. The Ancient Egyptians also produced beautiful colors from copper, which reflects their knowledge of the composition of various metals, and the knowledge of the effects produced on different substances by the Earth’s salts. The frequent references of metalworking in Ancient Egyptian gives us a truer conception of the importance of this industry in Ancient Egypt. The skill of the Egyptians in compounding metals is abundantly proven by the vases, mirrors, and implements of bronze, discovered at Luxor (Thebes) and other parts of Egypt. Many Ancient Egyptian products, now scattered in European museums, contain 10 to 20 parts tin to 80 and 90 parts copper. Wiredrawing was achieved with the most ductile metals such as gold and silver, as well as brass and iron. Gold thread and wire were the result of wire-drawing, and there is no instance of them being flattened. Silver wires were found in the tomb of Twt Homosis (Tuthomosis) III and gold wires were found attached to rings bearing the name of Osirtasen I, who lived 600 years before Twt Homosis III [1490–1436 BCE]. The Egyptians perfected the art of making thread from metals. There exists some Amasis delicate linen with numerous figures of animals worked in with gold threads, which required a great degree of detail and finesse. The science and technology to manufacture metallic products and goods were known and perfected in Ancient Egypt, which was able to produce numerous metallic alloys in large quantities. The Ancient Egyptians utilized gold, which was mined in Egypt. They also used silver, which was/is not found in Egypt, but was imported from the Iberian Peninsula. They used silver individually or combined into the golden-silver alloy known as electrum. Ancient Egyptian records indicate that the neteru (gods/goddesses) are made from electrum, the source of energy in the universe. The proportion of gold to silver was generally two to three. An Ancient Egyptian papyrus from the time of Twt Homosis III (1490-1436 BCE) indicates that an official received a “great heap” of electrum, which weighed 36,392 uten, i. Gold and silver were also cast to make small statues, in the same manner as copper and bronze. The two metals are often found in the form of solid beads, which are at least 6,000 years old. At the Middle Kingdom tombs of Beni Hassan, the scenes give a general indication of the goldsmith’s trade. The process of washing the ore, smelting or fusing the metal with the help of the blow-pipe, fashioning it for ornamental purposes, weighing it, recording materials inventories, and other vocations of the goldsmith are all represented in these tombs. When the gold was not cast solid, it was flattened into a sheet of even thickness. Gold in sheet form was used to decorate wooden furniture. Thicker gold sheets were hammered directly onto the wood and fixed by small gold rivets. It was applied over a layer of plaster, but the nature of the adhesive used by the Egyptian craftsman has not been identified. ] gold coffin of Twtankhamen, now displayed at the Cairo Museum. Ancient Egypt lacked mineral ores to produce copper and bronze alloys—copper, arsenic, and tin—which were obtained abroad. The Ancient Egyptians manufactured large quantities of these alloys more than 5,000 years ago. Egyptian copper was hardened by the addition of arsenic. The content of arsenic in the copper alloy varied, depending on the intended use. Variations in composition have been observed: for example, daggers and halberds had stronger cutting edges and contained 4% arsenical copper, while axes and points contained 2% arsenical copper. Arsenical copper was used from the pre-dynastic times [c. The Ancient Egyptian stone (known as the “Palermo Stone” and now housed in the Palermo Museum) records the making of a copper statue of Khasekhemwy of the 2nd Dynasty [c. A copper statue of Pepi I [2289-2255 BCE], the earliest surviving example of metal sculpture, is presently housed in the Cairo Museum. It is undoubtedly the precious nature of all metals in Egypt that explains the rarity of early pieces, since much of the metal would eventually have been melted down and reused several times. In addition to manufacturing arsenic copper, the Ancient Egyptians also manufactured bronze products. The addition of a small proportion of tin to copper produces bronze and results in a lower melting point, an increased hardness, and a greater ease in casting. Bronze was perfected and employed in Egypt for large vessels as well as for tools and weapons. Ancient Egyptian bells of various kinds were found, carefully wrapped in cloth before they were placed in tombs. Bells were made mainly of bronze, but were also occasionally made of gold or silver. The large number of Ancient Egyptian bell molds [now in the Cairo Museum, cat. #32315 a, b] provides good evidence of metal founding in Ancient Egypt. The chemical analysis of the typical Ancient Egyptian bell was found to be 82. 4% copper, 16. The Egyptians employed various kinds of bronze alloys, as we learn from the texts of the New Kingdom, where there is frequent mention of “black bronze” and the “bronze in the combination of six” – i. Yellow brass was a compound of zinc and copper. A white (and finer) kind of brass had a mixture of silver, which was used for mirrors and is also known as “Corinthian brass”. Adding copper to the compound produced a yellow, almost golden appearance. Copper and bronze provided material for a wide range of domestic utensils such as cauldrons, pitchers, basins, and ladles, in addition to a wide range of tools and weapons: daggers, swords, spears, and axes, as well as battleaxes. Records from the Middle Kingdom Period [2040–1783 BCE]—such as those depicted in Beni Hassan tombs – show the variety of Ancient Egyptian weapons, such as the various shields depicted herein, with several variations of riveting. During the New Kingdom [1550–1070 BCE], the Ancient Egyptians raised a large military in order to protect their borders. The Egyptians hired mercenaries for their military forces and the Egyptians manufactured their necessary fighting equipment. A secure and prosperous Egypt was able to produce large quantities of metal goods in the 18th Dynasty [1575–1335 BCE]. This increase in the number of goods corresponded to the increase in mining activities and an increase in number of Egyptian copper and bronze items in Iberian tombs of the same period, as is referenced at the end of the next chapter. The Ancient Egyptian demand for large quantities of copper, arsenic, and tin developed more than 5,000 years ago. Archaeological records show the early utilization of mineral wealth, in southern Iberia, of copper and arsenic. Evidence of early contacts along the “Tin Route” that came from the eastern Mediterranean region—namely Ancient Egypt—is shown in our book Egyptian Romany: The Essence of Hispania, by Moustafa Gadalla. The Ancient Egyptians produced numerous types of glazed articles as early as the Pre-Dynastic Period [c. The variety and high quality of Ancient Egyptian glazing articles are indicative of the Ancient Egyptian knowledge of metallurgy. The most common colors of the Egyptian glaze were blue, green, or bluish-green. The color is the result of adding a copper compound. More brilliant results were achieved by using a mixture of copper and silver. Ancient Egyptian glass was formed by strongly heating quartz sand and natron with a small mixture of coloring agents such as a copper compound or malachite, to produce both green and blue glass. Since glaze contains the same ingredients fused in the same manner as glass; glassmaking may therefore be attributed to the Egyptians even at a much earlier date. Egyptian glass bottles are shown on monuments of the 4th Dynasty [2575–2465 BCE]. Egyptian glass bottles of various colors were exported into other countries such as Greece, Etruria, Italy, and beyond. It ranges from the limpid blue of lapislazuli to the turbulent blue of turquoise and the speckled gold of cornaline; these being the three stones that are most representative of the Egyptian jeweler’s art. In addition, we should note that Egyptian craftsmen worked wonders with enamel; large plaques of which were decorated with hieroglyphs or cartouches. The Ancient Egyptian glass mosaics have wonderful, brilliant colors. Glass is frequently found in what is commonly called Egyptian cloisonné work; a term used to describe an inlay consisting of pieces of glass, faience, or stone set in metal cells and fixed with cement. Glazed pottery, tiles, and other ceramics were major industries in Ancient Egypt. An elegant Egyptian faience bowl, now in the Berlin Museum, decorated with a painting of three fish with one head,and three lotus flowers. Some tiles were painted in pigments made by mixing metallic oxides (of copper, manganese, cobalt, etc. Although the pyramids were built before the “bronze and iron ages”, meteoric iron was known to the Egyptians of the Pyramid Age. The Ancient Egyptian name for iron was bja. Iron was utilized in Ancient Egypt, and iron mines can be found in the Egyptian desert. Herodotus’ account is confirmed by pieces of iron tools embedded in old masonry which were discovered by 19th century Egyptologists in various places. Also, the monuments of Luxor (Thebes) and even the tombs around Memphis, dating more than 4,000 years ago, represent butchers sharpening their knives on a round bar of metal attached to their apron which, from its blue color, can only be steel. Academia’s arbitrary dating of “metal developments” (copper, bronze, iron, etc. Western academia cavalierly denies Egyptian knowledge and use of iron products because the Ancient Egyptians never abandoned the use of bronze items. It is therefore that the knowledge and production of Ancient Egyptian iron products can’t be arbitrarily ignored. In the orderly nature of the Ancient Egyptian civilization, they maintained written records showing the nature of their expeditions and the arrangements of their mining activities. The surviving Ancient Egyptian records show a tremendous organization of mining activities more than 5,000 years ago, in numerous sites throughout Egypt and beyond. The turquoise mines at Serabit el Khadem in the Sinai Peninsula show a typical Ancient Egyptian mining quarry consisting of a network of caverns and horizontal and vertical passages carefully cut with proper corners—as were the quarries of the Ancient Egyptians in all periods. The Ancient Egyptians were able to cut deep and long into the mountains with proper shoring and support of excavated shafts and tunnels. These Egyptian pumps were famed worldwide, and were used in the mining activities in Iberia as per the following testimony of Strabo, in his Geography [3. So Poseidonius implies that the energy and industry of the Turdetanian miners is similar, since they cut their shafts aslant and deep, and, as regards the streams that meet them in the shafts, oftentimes draw them off with the Egyptian screw. The very religious Egyptians have always built temples/shrines, along with commemorative stelae, near/at each mining site. The same exact practice was found in mining sites outside of Egypt, such as in the Iberian Peninsula, where mines of silver, copper, etc. The Ancient Egyptian mining site at Serabit el Khadem in Sinai provides a typical mining site with its small temple of Hathor, called “the Lady of the Turquoise”, which stood on a high rocky terrace that dominates the valley since the 4th Dynasty [2575–2465 BCE], or possibly much earlier. Inscribed stelae are also found at other mines throughout Egypt, describing the work at each mining site. At the mines of Wadi Maghara, in Sinai, the stone huts of the workmen as well as a small fort, built to protect the Egyptians stationed there from the attacks of the Sinai Bedouins, still stand. Two Ancient Egyptian papyri were found which include site maps related to mining for gold during the reigns of the Pharaohs Seti I and Ramses II. One papyrus, which is only partially preserved, represents the gold district of the mountain Bechen in the Eastern Desert, and belongs to the time of Ramses II. The site plan also shows treatment areas of ore metals (such as washing, etc. The Ancient Egyptian records also show the various divisions and specialties of the manpower at mining sites. The Ancient Egyptian records show the organizational structure of the mining operations. Ancient Egyptian surviving records show the names and titles of various officials who, during the Old and the Middle Kingdoms, directed the works at Hammamat, at the Bechen mines in the Eastern Desert. The ore metals were treated on site before being transported by land and water, under heavy security, to the populated areas of Egypt by the Nile Valley. Egyptian mining activities were very organized, with people traveling back and forth to check the site work, ensuring the proper efficiency of operation and providing frequent rotation of the workforce at the mining sites, as well as providing amenities to these fortified sites. Under the Ancient Egyptian King Pepi I [2289–2255 BCE], the records show the name of the director of the quarries and the names and titles of the higher officials who conducted inspection visits to the site. The Ancient Egyptians sought raw materials from other countries and used their homegrown expertise to explore, mine, and transport raw materials from all over the inhabited world. Ancient Egyptian mining characteristics are found in many places—such as Iberia. This website is dedicated to the Baladi (silent majority) People of Egypt, the Bearers of Their Ancestral Torch.