PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Africa’s newest country, South Sudan, was officially open for business, Petroleum and Mining Deputy Minister Elizabeth James Bol told the last day of the Africa Downunder conference.
South Sudan was established when it broke away from Sudan on July 9 last year, and covers some 650 000 km2.
James Bol noted that while a moratorium to suspend all mining and exploration activities had been ongoing since 2010, the country was working on a Mining Bill, which would be enacted into law.
The Mining Bill would be tabled for its third reading in the National Legislative Assembly in October, and currently comprises 22 Chapters with 182 Articles.
While little prospecting has been carried out so far, the country was thought to have significant mineral potential.
“The detailed geology and mining in South Sudan is poorly known and little minerals exploration has so far taken place,” said James Bol.
“The general geological setting gives good reason to believe that significant mineral deposits wait to be discovered, and consequently that the minerals sector has the potential to become an engine for economic growth,” she said.
Resources currently being extracted in the country included gold, diamonds and marble, as well as talc, clay and silica.
James Bol added that the Ministry was planning to further develop the mineral resources sector to contribute to the national economy, by partnering with companies to carry out airborne geophysical surveys, regional and detailed geological, geochemical and geophysical mapping of the area, as well as regional exploration, capacity building and the acquisition of geological tools and equipment.
“The region is virgin in terms of mineral exploration and prospecting, and geological investment in South Sudan is limited,” she said.
James Bol noted that the most immediate opportunities for investors were in the oil and gas sectors, with refineries and pipelines a key focus area.