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Sudan official gold output near doubles

Sudan’s official gold output nearly doubled in the first half of 2021 as authorities reined in smuggling, a Sudanese Mineral Resources Co. representative said, marking a partial success in efforts to salvage the economy.

The North African nation recorded production of 30.3 tons between January and the end of June, compared with 15.6 tons in the same period the year before, Al-Sadig Al-Haj, head of planning and research at the state-owned company, said Sunday.

Sudan pocketed about 38.2 billion pounds ($86 million) from gold in the first half of 2021 and targets 104 billion pounds from a total 100 tons by the end of the year, al-Haj said. He attributed the rise to “strong measures” imposed by the mineral ministry and other state institutions to prevent illicit cross-border trade.

Sudan, where dictator Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in 2019, is racing to turn around an economy shattered by years of mismanagement and international isolation, with a substantial increase in gold sales a key component of its 2021 budget. Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim in June said Sudan was trying to attract private investment to the industry dominated by informal mining and that smuggling meant authorities see only part of total output.

The monetary figure represents the revenue derived by authorities from the gold via taxes and other fees, not its total value, according to al-Haj. Fuel shortages in Sudan last year also restricted output, he said.

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The state mining company has repeatedly dismissed the generally much higher production figures given by authorities during Bashir’s reign, such as 93 tons in 2018 and 100 tons the year before that, as fabrications.

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