The Nubians were extracting gold and base metals in Sudan some 3000 years ago. Today, gold production and refining remain the main output from Sudan’s mining sector – with the country noted as one of the largest gold producers in Africa. Agriculture and mining are expected to be main drivers of growth for the economy, with the mining sector estimated to account for nearly 10% of GDP at the present time. Agriculture accounts for nearly 80% of employment, though employment is rising in the mining sector and estimates suggest there are also one million active artisanal miners in the country.
As noted, the mining sector is dominated by gold production, though there is some notable production of cement and oil. That being said, three quarters of Sudan’s oil production was lost with the secession of South Sudan in 2011. The remainder of this vast geographical country remains largely unexplored; the Nubian Shield does offer high prospectivity potential for gold and base metal resources and several Concession Agreements were signed in 2021 with blocks in this region. With the lifting of a 20-year embargo and associated sanctions by the United States in 2017, the Sudanese economy has become a viable destination for international investments and the Government is keen to attract mining companies. Concerns do remain about political risk in the country, with a Transitional Government recently put in place in 2020. Political violence also remains a concern, particularly in the Darfur region. Sudan has underdeveloped infrastructure, a weak banking system, high youth unemployment rates, food security problems and extensive human rights issues. Corruption and governance issues are also noted as being potentially problematic.
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