Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi visited Sudan yesterday promising increased investment in a major fillip for the African nation.
“This visit is part of our move to make investments in the region,” Naimi told reporters on his arrival.
“In Sudan we will concentrate on investments in the mining sector.” Naimi went straight into talks with Sudanese Mining Minister Ahmed Mohamed al-Karuri before meeting President Omar al-Bashir.
The two Arab countries have agreed to start exploring for mineral resources, including silver and gold, in the Red Sea by 2020, the Sudanese minister said in Khartoum yesterday.
Saudi Arabia and Sudan, which are on opposite sides of the Red Sea, have been considering since the mid-1970s how to exploit mineral deposits, which they believe lie 2,000m below sea level.
The proposed mining, which will include gold, copper and silver, is expected to generate revenues of around $20bn, the Director General at Sudan’s Mining Ministry, Mohamed Abu-Fatema, said.
A joint exploration project - Atlantis II - has been under way since 2012 and Naimi told a news conference that production “is expected to begin after four years”.
Media reports say that projected ore deposits amount to some 100mn tonnes.
Sudanese Oil Minister Ahmed Mohamed al-Karuri (left) and Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi (right) arrive for a press conference following a meeting in Khartoum yesterday.