KHARTOUM, June 17 (Reuters) – Sudan on Thursday signed nine concession agreements for gold and copper mining with eight local and foreign companies, the state news agency SUNA said.
All the agreements are related to gold mining except one for copper, the agency quoted Minister of Minerals Mohamed Bashir Abdalla as saying.
Three companies from Iraq, China, South Africa won four gold mining concessions, and a fourth one from Armenia won the single copper concession, the report said. Four local companies took four gold concessions.
All concession areas are located in the Red Sea State, the West Kordofan state and the Northern State.
Sudan sold 13,327,657 grammes of gold worth $437,983,965 from 2015 to 2020, Abdalla said on Thursday, compared with 2,752,889 grammes worth $140,805,290 from June 2020 to February 2021.
Gold sales from March to May reached $36,295,970, the minister said during the concession agreements ceremony.
Sudan took steps last year to open up trade in the precious metal further to private investors, allowing them to handle all exports and taking the business out of state hands.
Sudan has been cracking down on gold smuggling to generate more foreign currency. For years, the central bank had a monopoly on exports, buying gold locally at fixed prices at collection sites nationwide, which led to the illegal trade.
The country also had approved the establishment of stock exchanges for gold, minerals and agricultural commodities.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Nafisa Eltahir; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Richard Chang)
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