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Gold mining permit withdrawn after protests in Sudan

January 17 - 2017 DALGO / KADUGLI
Mercury used by artisnal gold miners (
Mercury used by artisnal gold miners (

The Northern state government withdrew the permit of a mining company, for establishing a factory that would extract gold with toxic chemicals, following popular protests. In South Kordofan's mining area, more mining companies emerge, to the discontent of residents.

The mining company had plans for a factory in Sebu in Dalgo locality in northern Sudan, using mercury and cyanide to separate gold and silver particles from ore. The toxins can cause various serious and possibly fatal health problems.

A series of protests against the permit lasted four days before the Governor of Northern state, Awad Ali, decided to categorically withdraw all the company's machineries from the site yesterday. The Popular Committee for Environmental Protection has welcomed the Governor’s decision.

Ali had proposed holding an investigation into the health and environmental effects of the chemicals' use on Friday, when members of the Committee toured the area with loudspeakers.

Elsewhere in Sudan more mining activities have popped up despite rejections by local committees and activists. Companies which allegedly also use cyanide in the gold extraction process have increased their activities in several parts of South Kordofan, according to the committee for environmental advocacy.

“This represents a serious threat to the future of generations.” - Environmental advocate

Ahmed Mukhtar, the committee's secretary-general, told Radio Dabanga that more than 30 companies now exist in South Kordofan. “These companies have established factories in the populated areas amid the absence of any engineering considerations.

“These toxic substances exist for long periods in the soil, water and trees, which constitutes damage to the forest and animal wealth in the state in the long term.” Mukhtar said he anticipates an environmental disaster in the state because of leaking toxic substances across the water and valleys during the coming rainy season. He added that the committees cooperate with all competent authorities in order to reach solutions to this problem.

Activists and the residents in South Kordofan actively reject the activities of the companies, he said. Protests were carried out in a number of villages against the installation of a new gold extraction factory in Bajoun locality on Sunday.

“There have been detentions of activists in a number of the localities, as well as harassment of the graduates' committee in El Tadamon,” Mukhtar claimed. A lawyer working on a trial against a planned gold factory in Kadugli, South Kordofan was arrested by the security service mid-December.

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