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Sunday, 01 April 2018

The Mineral Industry of Sudan (2-2)

(Mowafa Taib) - In 2014, the Government reported that 10 companies produced gold in Sudan

and that the number of gold-producing companies was expected to increase to 21 by 2015. These companies included Ariab Mining, delgo Minerals Co., Koch of Russia, Golden United Group, Hagagia (Poly Red Sea) Gold Mining Co. Ltd., Huakan Mining Co. of China, Managem Group of Morocco, Omdurman Mining Co., Rida Mining Co., Sahari Company for Gold Mining, and Tahi International Metal Mining Corp. of the British Virgin Islands (table 2; Africa Intelligence, 2014).

In 2014, Ariab Mining operated the Hassai Mine in northeastern Sudan, which was the leading large-scale gold mine in the country. La Mancha Holding S.àr.L owned a 44% share in Ariab Mining in 2014, and was in the process of selling its share to the Government in 2015. Ariab Mining produced 1,775 kg of gold in 2014 compared with 1,546 kg in 2013. Since 1992, total production at the Hassai Mine was about 80,000 kg of gold from mining the upper gold-rich oxidized cap rock of multiple deposits. Exploration at depth was planned at Hassai owing to the impending depletion of near-surface deposits.
The company completed a defiitive feasibility study to build a carbon-in-leach plant to treat the substantial amount of tailings accumulated during more than 30 years of mining. Ariab Mining also completed a prefeasibility study to build a flotation plant to treat the volcanic massive sulfie (VMS) deposits underlying the current open pits. The company planned to mine 12.2 Mt to obtain 19,362 kg of gold and 93,060 kg of silver during the next 5 years. The VMS project was expected to develop the Hadal awatib East, the Hadayamet, and the Hassai South properties, where the mineral resources (combined) were estimated to be 117 Mt grading 1.22 grams per metric ton (g/t) gold, 1.12% copper, and 0.67% zinc. Mineral resources at the Hadal Awatib East deposit were estimated to be 67.5 Mt containing 74,764 kg of gold, 706 t of copper, and 508 t of zinc. Mineral resources at the Hassai South properties were about 42 Mt containing 61,329 kg of gold, 525 t of copper, and 122 t of zinc; and those at the Hadayamet site were 7.8 Mt containing 7,236 kg of gold, 79 t of copper, and 784 t of zinc.
Managem Group of Morocco continued exploration for gold in Blocks 9, 15, and 24 through its subsidiary MCM Sudan.
The company planned to start construction of a new gold mine at Mining Block 15, which is located in northeastern Sudan, after completing a feasibility study. Resources at Wadi Gadgaba in Mining Block 15 were estimated to be more than 120,000 kg of contained gold. Managem planned to produce about 10,000 kilograms per year of gold by early 2017.
In September, Orca Gold Inc. of Canada completed its second drilling program at the Galat Sufar South (GSS) and the Wadi Doum (WD) prospects in Block 14, which are located in northeastern Sudan. Indicated and inferred mineral resources at the GSS deposit were updated to 26.4 Mt grading 1.77 g/t gold and 8.64 Mt grading 1.7 g/t gold, respectively. Initial indicated and inferred resources at the Wd prospect were estimated to be 1.30 Mt grading 3.02 g/t gold and 1.63 Mt grading 2.2 g/t gold, respectively. The company drilled 62,321 m and 8,751 m Mat the GSS and Wd sites, respectively, in 2014 and planned to spend $5 million on exploration in 2015 . Tahi International operated the abu Sara Gold Mine in Block 17 at Hamasana in the State of Red Sea. Mineral resources at the mine were estimated to be 4.7 Mt grading 3.07 g/t gold. The company estimated that 110 t (3.5 million troy ounces) of gold could be produced from the mine based on available drilling and geologic information.
Sahari Company for Gold Mining began gold production at Berber in the State of River Nile. The company was the third company that was permitted to mine for gold, after Ariab Mining and Rida Mining Co. Sahari’s concession area covered 2,600 square kilometers (km2) and contained an estimated 14,500 kg of gold at its eight mines. The company invested $29 million and used a carbon-in-leach gold recovery plant to minimize the potential for environmental damage.

Iron Ore

Iron ore deposits have been evaluated by Sudan’s General authority for Geological Research in several regions in the country. The Gaab and the Bagrawiya oolitic iron ore deposits in northern Sudan were the largest iron ore deposits in the country and were estimated to contain 15 billion metric tons (Gt) grading 45% iron and 5 Gt grading 40% iron, respectively.
The Argin and Wadi Halfa oolitic iron ore deposit in northern State was estimated to hold 100 Mt grading 40% iron. Other iron ore deposits in the country were the Gallabat deposit in the State of Gedaref, the East Khartoum and the West Khartoum deposits in the State of Khartoum, the Sofaya deposit in Red Sea Hills, the Abu Tulu Gossans metallogenic province in the State of West Kordofan, and the Ed el Fursan banded iron formation in the State of South Darfur (Mohamed Ali, 2014).

Industrial Minerals

Cement.—Cement production in Sudan decreased slightly by 1.7% to about 3.5 Mt in 2014 compared with that of 2013. Sudan had eight major cement plants with a total (combined) capacity of 10.3 million metric tons per year. The Ministry of Minerals listed the following four additional plants in the State of River Nile: Bee Cement Factory, Heleith Cement Factory, MAM Cement Factory, and Raira Cement Factory. From 2010 to 2014, the country’s cement production increased to 3.5 Mt from 1.9 Mt.
In 2014, al-Rajhi Group produced about 1.2 Mt of cement; Al-Shamal Cement Factory, 945,800 t; Berber Cement Co. Ltd., 531,900 t; ASEC Cement Co. of Egypt (a subsidiary of Qalaa Holdings S.A.E. of Egypt), 438,400 t; Al-Salam Cement Production Co. Ltd., 242,600 t; Aslan Cement Co., 81,100 t; and Nile Cement Co. Ltd., 47,800 t. Increased production at al-Shamal was offset by decreased production at other
cement plants in the country.

Clay and Shale

Laterite, which has low iron content and high clay content, was used for brick production. Many brick plants were located near Khartoum. In 2014, reported laterite production decreased sharply to 46,579 t from 339,390 t in 2013 41.4  in 2014 and 96,400 t in 2012. The decrease was attributable to decreased demand by the construction sector.

Phosphate Rock and Potash

In 2013, Regency Mines plc of the United Kingdom and International Minerals Resources Ltd. (Agrominerals Sudan) signed an agreement to explore for phosphate mineralization at Block PHOS 7 in the Jebel Abyad basin in northern State and for potash at the Red Sea Hills in the northeast. The Red Sea potash project (Block RS 9) covered 499 km2 and was located 200 km north of Port Sudan. In August, the company completed a preliminary advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer (ASTER) study of the Jebel Abyad concession and, in October it started exploration work .

Stone, Dimension

Sudan’s marble production decreased to 900 cubic meters in 2014 from 1,000 cubic meters in 2013 (table 1). The main marble occurrences in Sudan are located in the Derdudeib, Marsh Arkuyai, and Minan regions in the State of Red Sea, the Es Semeih area in the State of north Kordofan, the nayfer er Rugayig area in the State of White Nile, the Rashad area in the State of South Kordofan, and the West Berber-Atbara area in the State of River Nile.

Mineral Fuels

Petroleum.—In 2014, Sudan’s production of crude petroleum decreased to 42.4 Mbbl from 45.1 Mbbl in 2013. The volume of refined petroleum products produced increased slightly in 2014 compared with that of 2013 (table 1; Central Bank of Sudan, 2015, p. 137). The Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co. [CNPC (40%), Petronas Carigali Overseas Shd. Bhd. of Malaysia (30%), ONGC Videsh Ltd. of India (25%), and Sudapet (5%)] produced crude petroleum in Blocks 1, 2, and 4 in West Kordofan in south-central Sudan. after the referendum on South Sudan’s independence from Sudan, Blocks 1, 2, and 4 were divided between Sudan and South Sudan. The Bamboo, Bamboo West, Diffra, Garaad, Hadida, Heglig, and Neem Taiyib oilfields are located in Sudan. In late 2014, Star Oil Co. [Ansan Wikfs Investments Ltd. of Yemen (66%) and Sudapet (34%)] produced crude oil at the Al-Barasaya oilfild in Block 17 at the rate of 11,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) 
The Khartoum oil refiery at Jali in northern Sudan was operated by CNPC, and had the capacity to produce 100,000 bbl/d. The Port Sudan refinery was owned by the Government and had the capacity to produce 21,700 bbl/d. The country also had three small-scale refineries (topping plants)— the El-Obeid refinery, which had the capacity to produce 10,000 bbl/d, the Shajirah refinery (10,000 bbl/d), and the Abu Gabra refinery (2,000 bbl/d). The Government planned to increase the capacity at the Khartoum oil refinery to 200,000 bbl/d, and that of Port Sudan and El-Obeid, to 50,000 bbl/d each.


Many of Sudan’s mineral resources have yet to be explored and developed. The Government has focused on gold mining as a way to offset the revenue lost from petroleum production in South Sudan, which became an independent country in 2011.
Based on Government statistics, Sudan was the third-ranked producer of gold in Africa in 2014, after South Africa and Ghana (Sudan Tribune, 2015). The scenario could be realized if more than 130 mining companies, of which 15 are international, begin production by 2015. Production of manganese and zinc was reported recently by the Government, and production of these mineral commodities is expected to increase in the short term.