National, News

Mining ministry to crack down plunderers

By Bida Elly David


South Sudan’s minister of mining, Marin Abucha Ali, said they have identified mining companies that are operating illegally in the country.

Mr. Abucha said they will soon lodge a legal battle to eliminate such companies from exploring the minerals in the country.

“Most of the companies are likely to be revoked because they are not in compliance,” he said.

He spoke at the opening of a two-day stakeholders’ workshop organized by the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) to review the Mining Act amendment bill 2023.

Minister Abucha, who declined to name the mining companies said it took them ample time to unearth the firms that do not follow legal procedures and acquire licenses.

“We would like to see that issues of compliance in the mining sector across the country are addressed,” he hinted.

The minister also stated that they were forced to withdraw the licenses of some mining companies with legal documentation that couldn’t perform well.

“Most companies that occupied exploration licenses performed below our expectations, and as a result, some of the licenses were removed,” he disclosed.

He said some companies he spotted attributed their below-average performance to a lack of security protection and expertise.

“Some of them claim not having security or expertise but having licenses; we wondered how they got those licenses,” he echoed.

The minister pointed out that only those who have licenses with competence will be key priorities for the government in operations, particularly those with resources.

“Some companies went into partnership with investors without the knowledge of the ministry, so they were vetted to see if they were genuine partners,” Abucha noted.

The Minister reiterated that the government has restored the commercial department’s liability to carry out serious inspections.

“We did not have mining cooperation, which was supposed to be the commercial wing to undertake commercial purposes; it was never established, but now it is done,” he said.

In October of this year, the Council of Ministers adopted and passed a mining technical proposal document presented by the minister of mining.

This framework document aims to boost government investment efforts, particularly in exploration, and also develop the mining sector in the country.

The document empowers the Ministry with powers to provide juridical and rich information to the investors for issuing a new role, title, and license.

Abucha explained that the proposal will address the challenges of lack of data, which has been troubling the Ministry of Mining.

He also said the document would enable the government to diversify the economy of the country through revenue collections from the mining business.

South Sudan is one of the African countries known as an important oil producer and also has other mineral resource deposits like copper, gold, diamonds, and limestone, to mention but a few.

The South Sudan mining industry started operating from the time South Sudan became a semi-autonomous regional government of the then Sudan in 2005.

The young East African country inherited a well-developed petroleum industry with an extensive network of pipelines passing through neighboring Sudan.

However, the other mining areas remain largely undeveloped.

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