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Sudan moves against unregulated mining

December 17 - 2019 KHARTOUM
Miners in El Gedaref (File photo RD)
Miners in El Gedaref (File photo RD)

Sudan’s National Committee for Environment Protection (NCEP) has submitted more than 16 legal petitions against mining companies that violate environmental laws, but these petitions were not taken into consideration during the former regime. Sudan has witnessed extensive unregulated gold mining operations over the past years.

On Sunday, at a conference on mining issues, NCEP Secretary-General Ahmed Mukhtar said that there are about 2,000 mines in the country that threaten the lives of the people. He explained that the presence of toxic chemicals in open spaces has caused people to leave their areas, where the water is contaminated. Wild animals left to other places as well.

Mukhtar urged for compensation for the affected people. He highlighted that 450 companies are working in mining fields and only 17 per cent of their production goes to the state treasury.

He recommended that the operations of these companies must be terminated immediately in these areas. There should be addressing the pollution issues, replanting forests, developing the areas affected by the use of mercury or cyanide, and enacting strict laws prohibiting the use of these two substances.

Prohibited

The acting governor of North Darfur, Maj Gen Malik Khojali issued a state decree that prohibits revenue collection of residues of gold in the mining areas except the Sudanese Mineral Resources Company.

The Minister of Energy and Mining, Adil Ibrahim, directed that all mining companies operating in the country are prohibited from granting any money to government employees of his ministry, whether it is in the Sudanese Mineral Resources Company or the General Corporation for Geological Research or any other company. He also urged the government to monitor mining operations properly.

According to France 24, Sudan is now the second-largest producer of gold in Africa and the ninth in the world. The production however is driven by unregulated, artisanal (individual subsistence) mining: More than 1.5 million men who put their lives at risk to dig for and extract the precious metal. And much to their dismay, the government in Khartoum is pushing to attract foreign investors and introduce more industrialised methods.

On Monday Radio Dabanga reported that Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, has reportedly started arrangements to hand over the mining areas in North Darfur’s Jebel Amer to the Sudanese government.

 


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