According to reports, Sudan recorded the highest gold production in the country’s history in 2022. The reports have attracted criticism from both locally and internationally, with critics saying the achievement does not reflect on the citizens of the country in any way.
The reports were based on an announcement by the Sudanese Mineral Resources Company that the country registered a record-breaking gold production of over 18 tons in 2022, the highest in the country’s mineral sector history.
Some critics claim that the reports further highlight the level of corruption in government, especially as the smuggling of gold has remained a persistent issue in Sudan.
Towards the end of 2022, CNN released an investigative documentary that revealed an estimated 50%-80% of the country’s gold was smuggled out of the country and often used to finance internal conflict. The report also claimed that Russia has been smuggling gold out of Sudan to bolster President Putin’s efforts in the Ukraine conflict.
At least 16 known instances of Russian gold smuggling flights out of Sudan have occurred over the past year and a half, according to the investigation. High-level Sudanese and US officials suggest the existence of “an elaborate Russian scheme” to plunder Sudan’s gold reserves in the face of Western sanctions.
Announcing the improvement in the country’s gold production, the Director of the General Administration for Supervision and Control of Production Companies, Engineer Alaeldin Ali, said in a press statement on Monday, 2 January 2023, that productivity increased by one ton and 611 kilograms, compared to the highest production in the last period, which was achieved in 2019.
The 18 tons and 637 kilograms of gold produced in 2022 originated from the production of the organised sector of concession companies and companies dealing with traditional mining waste.
Over 50% of Sudan’s gold is estimated to be smuggled out of the country, with proceeds frequently used to finance the internal conflict.
Central Bank of Sudan issued a new circular to banks and related authorities in March 2022, banning the export of gold by government agencies and foreigners, individuals, and companies, excluding concession companies operating in mining.
The circular also limited the role of the Central Bank of Sudan to purchasing gold to build reserves only.
Critics believe that Sudan should experience some change in fortunes as a result of the increase. The country is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most of the population lives in unbelievably hard conditions. They say the price of gold in the international market, which sits at $59.73 per Gram, $59,728 per kilo, and $1,857.75, should favour Sudan.
Some social commentators are of the opinion that Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan has not lived up to his promises to liberate the Sudanese people. They say that although they agree that changing the fortunes of Sudan will not happen overnight, the Sudanese Army general who is the de facto head of state of Sudan as the commander-in-chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces after leading a coup d’état in October 2021, deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, has more to do.
In September last year, al-Burhan told reporters that no fixed date had been set for elections, but the military would not wait forever.
His takeover halted a power-sharing agreement between the army and civilians, triggering mass street protests and a stand-off between the military and pro-democracy parties. After the deadlock deepened, Burhan said the army would step aside from political talks in July.
“We are waiting, we do not want to insert ourselves in this political process,” Burhan said in an interview on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York when asked about a date for elections. “Of course we will not wait endlessly,” he added.
Opponents blame Burhan for upending a transition towards democracy and an economic opening after the ouster of former leader Omar al-Bashir in a 2019 popular uprising.