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Diesel deficit debilitates traditional mining in Sudan

Traditional gold miners in Sudan (File photo)
Traditional gold miners in Sudan (File photo)

Traditional miners in northern and eastern Sudan pointed out to a complete halt to exploration movement due to a lack of diesel because of the emergency provisions.

Traditional miners told Radio Dabanga that El Debba locality in Sudan’s Northern State has imposed annual fees on all machinery worth up to SDG 12 million ($250,000*), and imposed a deduction of ten per cent of any production. This forces the miners to buy commercial diesel at SDG 54,00 ($1.14), but they complain that there is none available.

The Minister of Minerals, Mohamed Abu Fatima acknowledged the existence of a fuel crisis in the traditional and regulated mining sectors. He said that the ministry is developing rapid response to the fuel crisis of the traditional miners and companies in the states of El Gedaref, River Nile, the Northern State, and Red Sea.

Minister Abu Fatima said that the agreements signed with the concession companies to maximize the country’s revenues from metal products, especially gold and other minerals, are under review.

Traditional mining accounts for about 80 per cent of Sudan’s annual gold production. Recent reports suggest that a large proportion of the gold produced by traditional mining methods in Sudan is being smuggled to neighbouring countries such as Egypt or Eritrea because of poor prices offered by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).

Fuel restrictions

On 12 February 2019, the Oil Ministry called on vehicle owners and agricultural industrial machinery owners in all Sudanese states to register their vehicles and equipment at the nearest fuel station, so as to ensure that they get the required amount of fuel. The ministry said in a press statement that this action comes in the context of the Sudanese Oil Corporation seeking to combat the smuggling of petroleum products, combating the black market exchange and enforcing the policies that guarantee everyone’s right to refuel.

The printing of new currency by the CBoS has been necessitated by hyperinflation, coupled with a chronic shortage of hard cash.

As effective foreign exchange rates can vary widely in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the Market Makers Mechanism-determined daily US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).

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