Protests against gold mining continue in Sudan Red Sea state

A gold mining waste basin in Sudan (SUNA)


The Port Sudan-Kassala highway near Dordeib in Red Sea state remained closed yesterday after protestors decided to extend their roadblocks due to a lack of reaction from authorities. 

Protesters condemned the delay in dismantling gold mining plants using cyanide on the land where the 45th Infantry Brigade is stationed. They will continue to block the road until the authorities have responded to the protestors’ demands. 

The protesters prevented buses and lorries from travelling along the road, and several buses cancelled their trips between Kassala and Port Sudan. 

Medical doctor Amna Guloubawi told Radio Dabanga that the protesters did not remove the roadblocks after the end of a four-day deadline set for “dismantling the mixers.” Mixers are machines used to process gold. 

She told Radio Dabanga that the command of the 45th Infantry Brigade refused to allow a delegation of protesters to visit the military offices to ask about a previous agreement to dismantle the mixers. 

Guloubawi explained that the brigade command kept some of the mixers and did not dismantle them. She pointed to the considerable damage of the use of cyanide on humans, livestock, agriculture, and the environment. 

Red Sea state has been witnessing tensions for months as residents protest the behaviour of gold mining companies and fear that their drinking water supply is at risk.

Last week, journalist Osman Hashim reported that many lorries and other vehicles are lined up on two sides of the blockade, while bus passengers are forced to get off and take other buses on the other side of the closed road. 

“Sit-ins and other forms of community protests, such as blockades of national highways and stoppage of pumping to Sudan’s oil refinery, have become a common and increasingly frequent feature of civic opposition” to Sudan’s gold mining sector, reported Sudanese analyst Suliman Baldo on January 16.