Sudan’s Gold Curse Briefing Paper No. 1

How Mercury is Poisoning a Nation

And gross mismanagement is aggravating the problem

By Mohamed Salah Abdelrahman

Sudan’s gold rush began around 2008-09 and saw the country’s declared gold production increase steeply from 10 tons in 2008 to 32 tons by 2010, to a peak of 107.3 tons by 2017.1 Based on the Ministry of Minerals’ statistics, an average of 80% of Sudan gold production during this growth period is delivered by the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector which uses mercury for gold extraction through panning and amalgamation.2 Global trade statistics of imports and exports of mercury captured in the United Nations’ Comtrade database identified Sudan as the largest importer of mercury in subSaharan Africa, with the country importing 38% of all sub-Saharan African imports during the period 2010-2015.3

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