Sudan is one of the few remaining countries in the world which possess a huge wealth of undiscovered natural minerals. The Arab Mineral Organization, in its geological study of Sudan, pinpointed 36 natural minerals scattered around 245 locations. 'These included gold, silver, chromite, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, nickel, lead, tungsten, asbestos, talc, kaolinite, phosphate, quartz, uranium, granite, feldspar and sulphate minerals.
THE MINING SECTOR'S STRATEGIES, POTENTIALITIES AND INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The Sudan's strategies in this sector are summarized as follows:
. to intensify the exploration operations and rehabilitate the available quarries and mines by introducing advanced technology.
. to invest and utilize the undiscovered mineral deposits in some domestic industries.
. to increase production of chromium by threefold, mica by fivefold, gypsum by tenfold, and increase gold production by rehabilitating the present mines and striking some new sites.
In order to realize these objectives, new investment horizons will be created by enterprising in new exploration operations or establishing new quarries and export the surplus, or providing some aiding services, in addition to contributing to the rehabilitation works of the existing projects.
The large landmass of the Sudan involves a variety of rock formations that have developed over several geological eras. This has resulted in the occurrence of significant deposits of major minerals and hydrocarbon resources. The source of major minerals like gold, iron, copper, silver etc. are called basement complex rocks of the Precambrian age that extend over half the country, especially in the northern. eastern, and western parts. Sedimentary rocks considered to be the main source of oil and water resources also extend for about half the land mass of the Sudan.
Major deposits of minerals and oil have been identified in various parts of Sudan. Deposits of gold, chromitc, iron, copper, manganese and Tungsten have been identified in commercial quantities. There are also large deposits of copper, zinc, silver, uranium, lead and asbestos. At present only gold and chromite are mined and there are still further unexploited huge reserves of gold-Gold reserves occur in the eastern and northern parts of the country. It is estimated that there are more than 6 million tons of ore with a gold content varying from about 10 grams per ton depending on the location. The Ariab region in Hastern Sudan is a major area of gold deposits that is currently being mined. It is estimated that there are hundreds of tons of gold deposits in this region,
Large-scale exploration and mining of gold began about a decade ago although gold has been mined in Sudan through traditional methods for several centuries. The use of modern exploration techniques has rcsulrcd in a marked increase in the discovery of gold reserves. (In 1994, Sudan exported 2,883 kilograms of gold, an increase from the 1,521 kilograms exported in 1993).
Gold mining is undertaken by the Ariab Mining Company, a joint venture between the Government of Sudan and a French agency.
Chromite is mined in the Liaaicrn part of Sudan where there are reserves of over a million tons of very high-grade ore. Chromite is used . - in the metallurgical and chemical induslrics and in the production of refractory bricks. (Exports of chromium reached 55,000 tons in 1994). Solar salt from the Red Sea is also produced in commercial quantities of more than 200,000 tons per year. Sudan's reserves of iron ore are very extensive with an iron content of uplo Ci0 percent. Iron ore reserves are located in the western part of the country and in the east in the Red Sea Hills.
There are more than 250 million tons of gypsum located in the vicinity of Khartoum and the Red Sea coast and several million tons of marble also located in the eastern part of the country. Magnetite, used in the manufacture of heat resistant porcelain and magnesium salts have also been discovered in the central part of the country with reserves currently estimated at millions of tons. Around 6,000 tons of ore that contains deposits of uranium remain undeveloped in the western part of the country.