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Sudan says controversial Russian mining company will soon begin producing gold

September 10, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese minister of minerals Ahmed Mohamed Sadiq al-Karuri said that the Russian company of Siberian has already begun working at the mining concessions and will soon produce gold.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (CL) attends the inauguration of a gold refinery in Khartoum on 19 September 2012 (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/GettyImages)

A controversial agreement was signed in late July with the little known company for mining concessions in the Red Sea and River Nile states. President Omer Hassan al-Bashir reportedly attended the signing ceremony which was not made public.

Al-Karuri announced at the time that the company discovered 46,000 tonnes of gold reserves in these two sites with a combined market value of $1.70 trillion.

On top of the mammoth figure, scepticism grew deeper after a Sudanese consultant working for the ministry out of Moscow named Mohamed Ahmed Saboon tendered his resignation because of the contract with the company which he described as “unknown”.

Saboon also described the $1.70 trillion figure as “science fiction”.

Even the ruling party vice chairman Ibrahim Hamid admitted that the gold reserves figures may have been inflated.

"The figures put forward by the company about gold reserves may be 100% or 50% accurate," Hamid said in an interview last month.

But al-Karuri today described the campaign questioning the company and the agreement as "envy and hatred" stressing that those doubting the figures know nothing.

The minister said in press statements while inspecting companies specializing in the treatment of mining waste in the Northern state on Thursday that Russia was harmed by the negative campaign and not the company.

He reiterated that they built a relationship with the company since 2013 and that the numbers and data submitted were verified by the Russian geological research commission after which they signed the agreement.

"Action and not words will prove things,” al-Karuri emphasized.

The minister revealed that the company is now present with all its experts in the field saying that the campaign provoked them to condense schedule and that in six months or less the gold production will start.

(ST)