May 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese ministry of mining has suspended the licences of six gold mining companies operating in the country for violating environmental regulations.
- Workers break rocks at the Wad Bushara gold mine near Abu Delelq in Gadarif State, Wad Bushara on 27 April 2013 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
Sudan’s minister of mining, Mohamed Sadiq al-Karuri, in press statements on Monday threatened to take the same measure against any company which violates safety procedures and environmental controls, describing reports of breaches committed by those companies as “exaggerated”.
Al-Karuri revealed that they agreed with the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) to open purchase outlets in all gold producing states in addition to those which already exist in Khartoum in order to curb gold smuggling and offer remunerative prices for the producers.
Meanwhile, a special conference will be held on Tuesday to discuss problems of traditional mining in Sudan. It will cover several issues, including safety measures, environmental health, collapse of gold wells and the use of mercury in gold processing.
Gold exploration has created numerous problems in different areas of Sudan. The most famous amongst them was the tribal clashes which erupted in Jebel Amer area in North Darfur state which led to the death of 200 people.
The Sudanese army and police also complain about desertion among their soldiers who travel to search for gold in remote areas.
Last March, the government announced that gold production in 2014 would reach 70 tonnes compared to 34 tonnes in 2013 following development of the traditional mechanisms of exploration.
According to the ministry of mining, traditional mining represents 90% of gold production in Sudan.
The ministry said it plans to legalise and regulate the informal mining sector through the 2014 mineral wealth code which will be approved by the concerned bodies.
The East African country is looking for gold to make up for the budget deficit it incurred as a result of losing three quarters of its oil production due to the secession of South Sudan in July 2011.
In recent years a growing number of foreign gold companies have expressed interest in obtaining licences to operate in Sudan.