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Sudan, Saudi Arabia expect to earn $ 20 billion from Atlantis II project

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The Atlantis II (Latitude [N] 21° and Longitude [E] 38°) (Map by Nature.com)

May 1, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan on Sunday expressed hopes to attract more Saudi investments in mineral sector, and expected that the revenue of the two countries from Atlantis II mining project in the Red Sea reach 20 billion.

Saudi Arabia Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi, will pay a one-day visit to Khartoum on Wednesday to discuss joint collaboration in a project to extract metals from hydro-thermal basins some 2,000 meters deep in the Red Sea known as Atlantis II project.

Sudan Authority for Geological Research Director, Mohamed Abu Fatma, revealed that Red Sea bed is rich in minerals. Estimates for minerals in the common area between Sudan and Saudi Arabia show that there are over 47 tons of gold, 2 million tons of zinc, 500,000 tons of copper, 3,000 tons of sliver and huge amounts of other valuable minerals.

“Sudan, Saudi Arabia are expected to earn $ 20 billion from Atlantis II project. The two parties will discuss utilization of these minerals in their imminent meeting in Khartoum,” Abu Fatma told the official news agency (SUNA), calling for creating smart partnership in minerals exploitation.

Sudanese Minister of Minerals, Mohamed Sadiq al-Karori, on his part, said that Sudan has allocated 100 mining blocks for both local and international investors.

Al-Karori discussed with the Saudi Ambassador to Sudan, Fisal al-Mala, the final arrangements for al-Naimi visit to Khartoum to attend the meeting of Sudanese-Saudi Standing Committee on Joint Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Red Sea.

“Sudan is interested to attract more Saudi investments in minerals sector” said al-Karori, while Saudi Arabia aims to diversify income resources and to end oil dependency,.

The Saudi ambassador said his country is keen to invest in all sectors in Sudan including minerals. Al-Mala further said that he hopes Sudan and Saudi Arabia to focus on accelerating efforts to utilize Red Sea bed minerals.

Since the secession of South Sudan in July 2011 and the loss of two thirds of its oil reserves, Sudan has developed mining industry to increase its national revenue.

In February 2012, Khartoum and Riyadh signed an agreement on exploring minerals in the joint territorial water in the Red Sea. Atlantis II goes back to 1970s, when Sudanese government had plans to exploit the Red Sea bed with Preussag AG, a German mining company. But the project was abandoned due to the lack of suitable exploration technologies at the time.

In 2010, the Canadian Diamond Fields International and Saudi Manafa International Ltd. were licensed by the Saudi Sudanese Committee to conduct exploration activities in Red Sea rift valley.

In a feasibility study conducted in 2012, Diamond Fields International expected that Saudi Arabia and Sudan will make big profits from the extraction of copper, silver and zinc from Red Sea bed. At the time, it expected to start production in 2014 once technical studies are terminated.

Sudan and Saudi Arabia relations have recently improved after years of tension caused by Sudan-Iran connections. The development of bilateral relation was crowned by Sudan’s participation in the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi militants in Yemen and in the military exercises “Thunder of the North” in Saudi Arabia.

(ST)

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