Wednesday, November 28th 11:18 AM IST

Sudan-Saudi to start Red Sea Gold exploration in 2014

# Sudan gold  # Saudi gold  # Red Sea gold  # largest gold miner  

According to Sudan's Mines ministry, gold deposits lie under 2000 meters below sea level contained more than 150 to 160 tonnes of gold.3750 tons of silver and more than 1 million tonnes of copper.

KHARTOUM(BullionStreet): After nearly four decades into talks, Sudan and Saudi Arabia finally agreed to resume Red Sea gold exploration in 2014.

According to Sudan's Mines ministry, gold deposits lie under 2000 meters below sea level contained more than 150 to 160 tonnes of gold,3750 tons of silver and more than 1 million tonnes of copper.

Initial output of 3 to 4 tonnes of gold a year was possible from the deposit, situated some 115 kilometers west of Saudi port city of Jeddah.

Manafa International Trade Company of Saudi Arabia and its joint venture partner Diamond Fields International Ltd of Canada received a license in 2010 to explore the area.

Sudan is trying to boost exports of gold and other non-petroleum products after the separation of South Sudan last year left Khartoum without three-quarters of its crude production.

The ministry also said the country expects to produce around 50 tonnes of gold this year, earning $2.5 billion.

Analysts said Sudan is desperately seeking to offset the loss of most oil reserves when South Sudan became independent last year.

Output of 50 tonnes could potentially make it Africa's third largest gold miner behind South Africa and Ghana, and push it into the top 15 producers globally.

In 2011, Sudan earned around $1.5 billion from the export of 33.7 tonnes.

Sudan's gold output is small compared with players such as South Africa as Western firms have long neglected the country due to US sanctions and deposits tend to be in remote places.

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