Sudan to reopen gold mines once linked to warlord’s family

Sudan is moving forward with plans to reopen a network of mines that at one point produced a third of the nation’s gold – and which were until last year linked to the family of the country’s most powerful militia leader.

The Mining Ministry said on Monday it had sent a team from the General Authority for Geological Research to determine how soon the North Darfur mines can resume production.

The assets were handed over to Sudan’s government in May 2020 after being in Al Gunade’s hands for about four years. Al Gunade was a construction and trading firm owned by relatives of militia chief Mohamed Hamdan, who joined the 2019 coup against veteran dictator Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan’s gold output reached 76.6 tonnes in 2019, according to the World Gold Council. The figure would make it Africa’s third-largest producer, although much is thought to be smuggled or illicitly traded

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.

Regulations approved in early 2020 opened gold exports to private companies, allowing them to handle all exports and taking the business out of state hands.

The rules, however, limited private miners to exporting 70% of their output, with the rest to be sold to the central bank.

A few months later, Sudan took steps to open up the trade in the precious metal further to private investors, allowing them to handle all exports and taking the business out of state hands. 0

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