Home » Sudan’s Mining Minister Tackles Year-Long Protest Over Gold Extraction

Sudan’s Mining Minister Tackles Year-Long Protest Over Gold Extraction

The minister meets with protesters and promises to address their demands for environmental regulations and local development.

by Motoni Olodun

Sudan’s Minister of Minerals, Mohamed Bashir Abunamu, has intervened in a year-long protest by local residents in Kassala state, who have blocked the markets around mining areas. The protesters are demanding environmental regulations and that the mining revenues be invested into the local economy.

The minister, along with Kassala’s Governor Khojali Hamed, met with miners, civil stakeholders, and community leaders on October 22 in an effort to mediate and resolve the impasse. The protesters agreed to resume mining if granted the right to manage local mining under the government’s supervision. They also asked for more employment opportunities for the locals and the formation of a committee to oversee the disbursement of social investment funds.

The minister responded to their demands by promising to coordinate with the relevant ministries to find solutions to the problems of electricity, communications, roads, employment, and water. He also stressed that the closure of mining sites had delayed the arrival of social responsibility funds to their intended beneficiaries. He urged the executive agencies in rural Kassala to prevent the smuggling of gold, noting that the area was rich in mineral resources.

Sudan is one of the largest producers of gold in Africa, but conflicts, corruption, and environmental issues have plagued its mining sector. The country has been under US sanctions for two decades until 2017, which hampered its economic development and foreign investment. The country is also recovering from a political transition after a popular uprising ousted former president Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

The government is keen to attract mining companies and investors to boost its economy and create jobs. However, it also faces challenges from local communities concerned about the social and environmental impacts of mining activities. The government needs to develop and implement a comprehensive framework for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards in the mining sector, as well as ensure transparency and accountability.

The case of Kassala shows that dialogue and consultation are essential for resolving disputes and building trust between the government, the private sector, and the local communities. It also highlights the need for a fair and equitable distribution of mining benefits and responsibilities among all stakeholders. By addressing these issues, Sudan can harness its mineral wealth for sustainable development and peace.

Source: AllAfrica


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