July 7, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s minister of mining, Ahmed Mohamed Sadiq al-Karuri, has predicted the country will become Africa’s largest gold producer by 2018.
He said in press statements on Monday that Sudan currently ranks third after Ghana and South Africa in gold production in Africa.
Karuri, who met with the US charge d’Affaires in Khartoum, Jerry Lanier, said the number of companies operating in the mining sector has risen to 120, noting that the figure includes both national companies and multinationals.
However, the minister said that most of the companies were still in the exploration stage, with only 10 at full production stage, adding that gold reserves stood at about 944 tonnes.
He pointed to the existence of large quantities of crude iron, chromium, and copper but said they lack the added value needed for export as crude materials, expressing a desire to cooperate with the US in the mining field.
The US official stressed that the level of ties between the two countries is below ambitions, underscoring a keenness to develop relations in the field of mining.
He promised to continue communicating with the mining ministry to look into possibilities for cooperation, particularly as Sudan is replete with huge resources that should be invested for the benefit of the Sudanese people.
Meanwhile, the ministry of mining has signed an agreement with the joint Sudanese-Qatari Rumanna company, giving the latter a concession to explore in the Red Sea state.
Rummana’s chairman of the board of directors, Gaafar Ahmed Taha, said in statements following the signing of the agreement that they have the real desire to invest in Sudan, predicting the deal would represent a real push to the mining industry in Sudan.
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.