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Gold Mining, Sudan


Description:

There are more than 40,000 gold mining sites in Sudan. About 60 gold processing companies are operating in 13 states of the country, 15 of them in South Kordofan. [1]

According to Dr Saleh, Professor of Environmental Law at the Bahri University in Khartoum and legal advisor of the National Committee for Environmental Protection, the state, represented by the Sudanese Mining Company must provide protection to the people and the environment in the country by implementing the relevant international agreements, especially concerning the obligation of companies, factories, and individuals to obtain an environmental impact certificate and to adhere to safety procedures for workers and the environment. [1]

The National Environmental Advocacy Committee has received complaints from people living in various places in South Kordofan, the area of Sodari in North Kordofan, El Sawadra in Northern State, and from other parts of Sudan. Protests against gold extraction plants in several parts of the country have increased, in particularly in 2017. In Northern State, North Kordofan, and North Darfur people took to the streets as well in fear for their health. [1]

Cyanide and mercury are used, mostly by traditional small-scale miners, for extracting gold from ore. The processes are controversial because of the highly toxic nature of the chemicals. Large-scale mining operations are using safer alternatives. Mercury, causing damage to the nervous system at even relatively low levels of exposure, can contaminate the atmosphere and water at a very long distance. Cyanide that prevents the cells of the body from using oxygen, can enter water, soil, or air. [1] 

In July 2017, two people were killed and seven others were wounded in a clash between residents of Merifein village, south of Abu Jubeiha in eastern South Kordofan. [2]. The villagers were discussed whether or not the factory that extracts gold by using deadly cyanide could remain near the village. However, the dispute intensified, in the end led to a shooting, in which two died. Seven others sustained bullet wounds and were transported to the Abu Jubeiha Hospital. In March, police were deployed to protect the about 100 cyanidation plants in South Kordofan after angry people torched parts of a gold extraction factory in Talodi. They could not prevent, however, the burning of a cyanidation site in El Tagola on 29 March 2017. [2]

On the 12th of November 2017, a person was killed and two were wounded in a demonstration in Kologi, South Kordofan, against the gold mining companies in the area. Hundreds of protesters burned the house of the commissioner of Kalogi and locality buildings in anger, rejecting the activities of the gold mining companies which they accuse of using the toxic chemical cyanide, which can contaminate the environment and harm humans, animals and nature. [3] Riot police shot and wounded three protesters, including a higher secondary school student. He was taken to Abu Jubeiha hospital for treatment where he succumbed to his injuries. A delegation of the Sudanese Company for Mining held a symposium there at the time to persuade residents to allow mining companies to operate in the area. [3]

According to a report The Politics of Mining and Trading of Gold in Sudan: Challenges of Corruption and Lack of Transparency compiled by Elfadil Elsharief Elhashmi for the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG), the gold industry in Sudan is affected by the country’s legal and institutional framework, bureaucratic and political corruption, including embezzlement, cronyism and patronage. [4]

In early 2018, the Sudanese Ministry of Minerals signed an agreement with a Saudi Arabian company to explore for gold and other minerals in South Kordofan. The protection force stationed near a gold mining facility in El Tadamon locality is reportedly terrorizing the population. [5]. The agreement with the Saudi Azhab El Yamin company was signed by the Minister of Minerals, Dr Hashem Salem, and Saudi investor, Mohamed Bin Suleiman Bin Sulbi, the official Sudan News Agency reported. [5]

In March 2018, clashes between police and people from Berber locality in River Nile state resulted in the death of one man, as protesters stormed an unnamed Russian mining company. [6] A press statement said that the clash was sparked by a dispute over the site in Singeir that recently has been granted to a Russian concessionaire, which received a mining license by the Sudanese authorities. The statement said that the two parties of the gold miners and residents of the area had reached a compromise but that it has been violated by a group of approximately 150 people who stormed the Russian company’s mining site with the purpose to stop its operation. [6] The site granted to a Russian mining company to operate in Sudan’s River Nile state was later secured by a strong police contingent following the riots. [7]

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Gold Mining, Sudan
Country:Sudan
State or province:South Kordofan
Location of conflict:Kalogi
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Gold

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The Geological Research Authority of Sudan (GRAS) estimated that every week between 50 and 100 kilograms of extracted gold are sent to Khartoum for black market sale and export. 75 per cent of gold gets smuggled. And smuggling is being enabled by the inconsistency of policies regulating the sector, monetary policies, corruption and militia control of the gold producing area of Jebel Amir. Between 2010 and 2014, more than $4.5 billion worth of gold was smuggled from Sudan to the United Arab Emirates, according to the report of the U.N. panel of experts. [4]

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2015
Company names or state enterprises:Sudanese Company for Mining from Sudan
Ariab Gold Mining Company
Orca Gold
Siberian Golden Stone from Russian Federation
Azhab El Amin Company from Saudi Arabia
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Physical Development
Ministry of Minerals
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:The National Environmental Advocacy Committee
Sudan Democracy First Group: http://www.democracyfirstgroup.org

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Pastoralists
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Sabotage
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Threats to use arms
Occupation of buildings/public spaces

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Militarization and increased police presence, Increase in violence and crime

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Repression
Violent targeting of activists
Development of alternatives:Different demands are being submitted in differents parts of Sudan affected by gold mining. Some want the complete dismantling of mining factories. Others want the reduction of the use of cyanide and other toxic chemicals that affect the population and the environment as well as safer working conditions. Others want the implementation of stricter environmental standards and regulation.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The government has tried to introduce regulations for the million people employed in the industry, especially in gold mines. But most operations in Sudan are rudimentary and rely on traditional extraction methods. Mining accidents are commonplace - 60 miners were killed in one accident last year when their tunnel collapsed. Other dangers are posed by the materials used to extract gold such as mercury, which has resulted in high cancer rates among workers.
In addition, a recent report by the Enough Project found that gold mining and mineral extraction in the country was directly responsible for war crimes in the country’s south. In those areas, civilians living around gold mining sites have suffered killings, mass rape, and the torching of their homes and fields at the hands of armed groups, including the Sudanese army and tribal militias fighting with government backing.
[8][9][10]

Sources & Materials

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[10] - Fool's Gold: The Case for Scrutinizing Sudan's Conflict Gold Trade
https://enoughproject.org/files/Sudan%20Fools%20Gold%20Report.pdf

[4] - The Politics of Mining and Trading of Gold in Sudan: Challenges of Corruption and Lack of Transparency
https://www.dabangasudan.org/uploads/media/5a0c5fb1b2e7d.pdf

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[5] - Gold mining to increase in Sudan's South Kordofan
https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/gold-mining-to-increase-in-sudan-s-south-kordofan

[7] - Wali: Police secure disputed mining site in Sudan's River Nile state
https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/wali-police-secure-disputed-mining-site-in-sudan-s-river-nile-state

[9] - Miners facing the abyss in Egypt and Sudan
https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/4/1/miners-facing-the-abyss-in-egypt-and-sudan

[2] - Two killed in South Kordofan dispute over gold extraction plant
https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/two-killed-in-south-kordofan-dispute-over-gold-extraction-plant

[8] - Gulf companies investing in Sudanese gold despite 'war-crimes links'
https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2016/10/28/gulf-companies-investing-in-sudanese-gold-despite-war-crimes-links

[1] - Sudanese environment expert warns for the use of cyanide in gold mining
https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudanese-environment-expert-warns-for-the-use-of-cyanide-in-gold-mining

[3] - Student succumbs to bullet wounds in anti-mining protest, South Kordofan
https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/police-kill-student-in-anti-mining-protest-south-kordofan

[6] - Police kill anti-mining rioter in Sudan's River Nile
https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/riot-police-kill-anti-mining-rioter-in-sudan-s-river-nile

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Sudanese miners risk health for gold
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/sudan-miners-gold-161228055137894.html

Other documents

Top 3 African Gold Producers https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2016/10/28/gulf-companies-investing-in-sudanese-gold-despite-war-crimes-links
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/bc2af5aa-6ffd-427c-801c-be8d99b23594.jpeg

Demonstration against a gold mining factory in Sudan 7 February 2017

https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudan-police-deployed-to-gold-factories-in-south-kordofan
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/589afd28e05a7.jpeg

Protest against gold mining symposium in Kologi, South Kordofan 12 November 2017

https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/police-kill-student-in-anti-mining-protest-south-kordofan
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/5a09b972100f7.jpeg

Meta information

Contributor:Christophe Maroun - [email protected]
Last update20/03/2018

Images

 

Top 3 African Gold Producers

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2016/10/28/gulf-companies-investing-in-sudanese-gold-despite-war-crimes-links

Demonstration against a gold mining factory in Sudan

7 February 2017 https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudan-police-deployed-to-gold-factories-in-south-kordofan

Protest against gold mining symposium in Kologi, South Kordofan

12 November 2017 https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/police-kill-student-in-anti-mining-protest-south-kordofan