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Gold bullion blocks pictured at a gold refinery in Khartoum on 11 October 2012 (SUNA)

In September 2012, Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir inaugurated the country’s first gold refinery in a fresh bid to lift an economy still struggling from the impact of losing the oil-rich South Sudan in 2011.

Sudan’s government is attempting to capitalise on increased gold mining activities primarily by ordinary citizens as well as foreign companies, projecting around $3 billion in 2012. Sudan’s Ministry of Mining reported in September 2012 that 5,000 people are prospecting for gold in over 80 locations across Sudan.

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A local brings his gold for examination at a laboratory in the gold market in Khartoum (Photo: Reuters)

But some analysts are skeptical that the gold production will offset only a tiny fraction of the lost oil revenues. So far there is no evidence that the new discoveries have helped to shore up the budget deficit or boost foreign currency inflows.

In the last few years Sudan has witnessed a gold rush which attracted informal miners from all over the country and reportedly some foreigners.

A gold refinery was inaugurated late last year which will produce gold to international standards and help reduce the amount of ore smuggled overseas to places such as Dubai.

The central bank banned exports of gold ore effective this month.

South Sudan


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