It is encouraging to see a number of African nations taking steps to develop their mining sectors in recognition that the industry is a major contributor to GDP. Among these are Sudan where the government is making steady progress.
It is a fine line for governments to tread as if they go too far they can scare off foreign investment and deter mining companies from exploring, developing and operating but for Sudan to date, the progress made has been positive.
Sudan has a diverse range of natural resources, including more than 40 minerals which can be found in more than 10 states. In 2017 Sudan ranked second in Africa and ninth in the world in terms of gold production. There are industrial, agricultural, strategic and land minerals in addition to rare metals and precious stones.
More than 360 companies operate in the mining sector, which is a large employment sector. Traditional mining methods are widely employed and in excess of 2 million miners produce more than 80% of the country’s total production of gold.
Sudan’s Minister of Minerals Professor Hashim Ali Salem addressed the International Mining Forum and Exhibition recently and said that the country had made great strides in the development of the mining sector, such though that it was one of the most important sectors in the economy.
He said that since the establishment of the mines ministry, it had laid down solid plans to develop the mining industry in Sudan.
The ministry had reviewed the country's efforts in regulating and organising traditional mining and was changing it into a regulated sector. This was being done in order to create an attractive environment for investors from all over the world.
The Minister also recognised that it was important to support companies engaged in mining and to stabilise the investment climate to achieve sustainable mineral production.
As part of this process, it is important that Sudan’s mining sector engages with the industry at an international level to ensure the use of best practices. Smart partnerships and rational policies are needed to exploit the mineral resources optimally.
Technology and capital is needed to add value to mineral production so that the people of Sudan benefit.
The country as a whole is moving along a similar path with President Omar Bashir recently underlining Sudan's keenness to boost its relations with all countries to achieve beneficial strategic partnerships and cooperation.
- Yolanda Torrisi is Chairperson of The African Mining Network and comments on African mining issues and the growing global interest in the continent. Contact:email@example.com