Gold Mining and the Gold Market:To What Extent does the Nile Valley Gold Company Reflect the Gold Market?

I ran the XPath query: //div[@xml:id="deg-el-reut01"]/table//cell[contains(.,'Nile Valley Gold Mine')]/following-sibling::cell/measure. This search gave back 349 items, which were just the share prices, which ranged from 2 5/8 to 3/8. According to David McMahon, who analyzed an Egyptian geological map, the gold was extracted mainly from the Wadi Hammamat region. This is a dry river bed around the Nile river, and was a major trading and mining route. The Nile Valley Gold mine was part of this trading route, and it was on the most direct path to the Red sea. This means that a lot of traffic went by these mines and trading posts.

The data was extracted using regular expressions in the Atom text editor, and then put into an excel spreadsheet. In Tableau, I added a filter to exclude outlier values that were not accurate. I the proceeded to exclude the values that were in the templates (1.125, 1.25, 1). This made the visualization seem like a more accurate picture of what the actual data reflects. In almost all issues, The Nile Valley Gold company has (New) next to it. This is because gold mining on a big scale was just beginning in Egypt. "Gold mining in the recent past has been on and off until 2009 when the Egyptian government gave out licenses to international partners to do the exploration in the eastern districts. For example, mining was done between 1902 and 1927 when it stopped until 1935 when it started again and then stopped in 1958." This can explain the data I gathered.

I wanted to see what the Egyptian Gazette said about the gold market, so I ran a basic search of the repository for mentions of gold in a paragraph. I found an interesting article talking about the demand of gold domestically and abroad. In the third of January of 1905, it says: "all countries which have debts held in large amounts abroad, the natives begin to buy back those debts as soon as they advance in prosperity. Egypt, apparently, is doing this now. In the second place, it relieves the London market from one drain for gold. True, gold shipments after the turn of the year will not cause as much inconvenience as they would have caused during the past two or three months. Still it is well that the demand for the metal from abroad should decline."

From this, we can deduce that a lot of gold is being shipped abroad. This is because of debts owed to other countries. However, the extent to which the demand for gold decreased is unknown. A conclusion cannot be drawn from the price of the gold stocks, as there are many factors that play into the price.

The visualized data, interestingly, shows a downward trend, as the value of gold goes from 2.625 in January of 1905 to .25 in August of the same year. The price doesn't seem to recover. This could be due to many things. However, I believe that people were optimistic about the company at first, but then the company did not do well. New companies tend to carry a lot of risk, and have the possibility of failing. I wanted to know if the company did end up failing, and found a certificate of a share of the company at an auction. This certificate indicates that the share was selling for £1, indicating that the price did end up stabilizing somewhat. However, I can find no mention of the company beyond 1912. This suggests that either the other mining companies were more prominent and important, or that the company did not succeed as other companies were already mining the area.

There is no doubt that there is European presence in Egypt in the early Twentieth century. This is seen in advertisements, articles, and even the stocks and shares list. The Nile Valley Gold mine was run, presumably, by the British. It is, after all, valuated in Euros. A lot of mines were opened in the wake of the 1900s. "Their openings date from the early twentieth century at a time when the Eastern Desert experienced renewed interest and when British mining companies explored the ancient sites." During this time there was also a growing interest on Ancient Egyptian history, and historians found various tombs decorated with gold. This, along with the large deposits of gold along the Nile river, led to great innovations in the gold mining sector.

In conclusion, the Nile Valley Gold company is but one company and does not give a clear indication of the gold market in Egypt. However, it does give insight on the popular trading spots, and how large scale gold mining became popular in Egypt around this time.

Jimmy Mendez
Jimmy Mendez

The author, a student at Florida State University, was enrolled in the digital microhistory lab in fall 2019.