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Sudan produces 93 tons of gold in 2018: ministry

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Gold mine workers wait to get their raw gold weighed at a gold shop in the town of Al-Fahir in North Darfur on September 24, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

February 16, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Ministry of Minerals on Saturday said gold production has reached 93 tons (equivalent to $4 billion) in 2018.

The director of the Geological Research Corporation (GRC) Mohamed Abu Fatima said the Ministry of Minerals is facing a challenge of introducing means and policies to control gold exports fully in order to achieve $3 billion in revenues.

He stressed the ministry’s readiness to cover the country’s foreign exchange deficit, saying they have achieved 152% of the anticipated revenues last year.

Abu Fatima also pointed out to the need for attracting large gold production companies and completing infrastructure including integrated laboratories as well as establishing the gold market (bourse).

However, the ministry hasn’t mentioned the exact amount of gold exports nor the revenues in 2018.

It is noteworthy that the GRC is a technical arm of the Ministry of Minerals.

Last August, the Ministry of Minerals alluded to the smuggling of 48,8 tons of gold in the first half of 2018.

In a press release on 10 August, the Ministry of Minerals said gold production in the first half of 2018 amounted to 63,3 tons, saying the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) purchased only 10 per cent of the total production.

But, it didn’t elaborate on whether the 48,8 tons have been smuggled or being hidden by traditional miners and mining companies from government reach.

Gold production is now Sudan’s main source of hard currency after the secession of South Sudan where are the two third of its oil reserves before 2011.

However, restrictions on hard currency by the CBoS represent a big challenge impeding the development of the mining industry but also encourage traditional miners to smuggle their production to neighbouring countries.

Sudan currently ranks third in gold production behind South Africa and Ghana. Officials said they hope to increase gold production to more than 140 tons and make Sudan the first gold producer in Africa in 2018.

(ST)

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