Tuesday, April 2nd 02:10 PM IST

Sudan aims to become Africa's third largest Gold producer

# Sudan gold  # largest gold refiner  # traditional mining  

Sudan had known gold reserves of around 940 tonnes, adding that 91 firms were exploring for gold at 138 locations.

KHARTOUM(BullionStreet): Sudan hopes to become Africa's third largest gold producer this year with a planned output of around 50 tons, according to Sudanese president Omar al Bashir.

Bashir said Sudan earned $2.2 billion from gold exports last year and hopes to step up exploration with the help of Russian and Chinese companies.

Speaking at country's parliament, he said gold has now become Sudan's biggest export product, partially replacing oil revenues that had made up more than 50 percent of state income until 2011, when South Sudan became independent and took most oil reserves.

Sudan had known gold reserves of around 940 tonnes, adding that 91 firms were exploring for gold at 138 locations.

Chinese and Russian firms have been awarded contracts to explore an area of 769 square km for gold and other minerals, Bashir said.

Sudan also aimed to become one of the top 15 gold producers in the world by 2015, he added.

Industry players say Sudan is high on the list of exploration firms in Africa, because much of the vast country has not yet been explored.

U.S. sanctions and Sudan's multiple conflicts have deterred many firms in the past, but investor interest is now on the rise due to the high gold price.

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