September 19, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir inaugurated on Wednesday his country’s first Gold refinery in an effort to improve the quality of gold exports and boost state revenues to mitigate the economic crisis.
- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir looks on during the inauguration of a gold refinery in Khartoum on September 19, 2012 (GETTY)
The refinery, located in Al-Hila Al-Jadida area north of the capital Khartoum, will have a daily production capacity of 900kg of gold and 200kg of silver, according to its head Mohammed Osman Al-Zubair. It also aims to improve the quality of gold exports and reduce the amounts of smuggled gold by giving local producers more money.
Addressing the event, Central Bank governor Mohammed Kheir Al-Zuabir said Sudan made 2.6 billion US dollars from selling 58 tonnes of gold over the past 16 months, adding that the revenues helped to meet external commitment and “provide security and defense to the country.”
Last figures produced by the minerals program of the US Geological Survey show that Sudan official gold production in 2009 stood at 1922 kilograms but this figure does not account for unofficial gold production.
Sudan has a great mining potential, according to a recent survey by the Arab League’s Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO).
The country is looking for gold to make up for the loss of three quarters of its oil production due to South Sudan secession. The departure of oil revenues created a budget deficit of 2.4 billion US dollars.
Sudanese officials say the gold refinery is part of a tripartite program the state has devised to counter the economic crisis.
Few days ago, Sudan official news agency (SUNA) reported that the government has issued more than 500 licenses to produce gold in the country’s border state of Blue Nile, which is the scene of an armed conflict between the government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).
SUNA quoted the minister of mining Kamal Abdel Latif as saying that the licenses had been awarded to more than 55 countries.