The Sudani government Sunday signed contracts with 50 national and foreign countries for gold exploration in a move to compensate the oil revenues which Khartoum lost following separation of South Sudan.
"Today we celebrate the signing of contracts with 50 companies for mining in Geddarif, North Kordofan, South Kordofan, Kassala, the Red Sea, Nahral-Neel, South Darfur and the Northern States," said Abdul Baqui Al-Jailani, Sudanese minister of minerals, when addressing the signing ceremony in the presence of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir here Sunday.
The minister further said that over 200,000 citizens were working in the traditional mining, noting that the total production of this sector was 70 tons of gold last year.
He added that three Jordanian, Chinese and Turkish companies have entered the production circle, thus increasing the number of gold producing companies in the country to seven.
The gold refinery would enter the production circle early 2012 with a production capacity of 150 tons gold and 30 tons silver, he said.
The minister pointed to his ministry's role in filling in the gap in the country's general budget after losing the oil revenues, explaining that the ministry would accelerate the process of entering the companies into the production circle, increase the minerals' revenues and provide the production inputs related to the minerals industry.