| JUBA, Sudan
JUBA, Sudan Aug 4 South Sudan has awarded two
companies exploration licenses for gold and uranium in areas
thought to be rich in minerals, an official from the
semi-autonomous region said.
British/South African New Kush Exploration and Mining
Company and the UK-listed Brinkley Mining Plc BRM.L paid
$5,000 for one-year exploration licenses in the area bordering
The companies have informal verbal agreements with the
newly-formed southern Sudan government, which was created after
a January 2005 peace deal ended more than two decades of
north-south civil war.
This was because legislation governing formal written
agreements has not been passed yet, said the mining ministry's
director general for minerals and geological surveys, David Loro
"The mining act is not yet out," said Gubek, "Things have
been stuck (and) private investors need legal protection."
North Sudanese legislation, which would usually be used in
lieu of new southern laws, is also under review said Gubek.
Almost every southern Sudanese ministry has produced draft
laws, causing jams in the law making process, he added.
The informal agreements with the two companies had been
mandated by the cabinet, and Gubek said the government would
likely award concessions to those who had done the exploration.
"(Some) feared that after exploration we might give the area
to someone else," said Gubek. "But we assured them because you
are the ones doing the exploration there is no way we could
British and Belgium geological surveys conducted in south
Sudan's large pre-Cambrian area prior to the war produced
The pre-Cambrian area is a geological formation, thought to
have large mineral deposits, Gubek said. It runs on from
neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Two other companies have also been offered similar gold
exploration deals for other counties but have not yet finished
formalizing the agreements, said Gubek, who expects that each
company will invest between $20-$30 million.
He declined to name them.
The new southern government lacks the cash and expertise to
do its own preliminary exploration said Gubek.
The areas currently attracting interest became famous for
being gold rich after years of 'local' low-skill collection.
Some of the precious metal was sold to fund the former southern