* In talks over $1-£2 bln loan for infrastructure-minister
* To conduct South Sudan's first geological survey
By Andrew Green
JUBA, Sept 9 China will help South Sudan develop
a mining sector and is in talks to lend it between $1 and 2
billion for road, power and agriculture projects, oil and mining
minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said on Monday
Speaking at a joint news conference with the Chinese
ambassador Ma Qiang, Dao said China will provide $43 million to
conduct a geological study to help South Sudan's plans to hand
out mining licenses in its search for gold and other metals
He gave no further details on the discussed loan.
In March, South Sudan signed a mining law to attract foreign
investment but officials and mining companies say it will take
time to develop the sector because of the lack of almost any
infrastructure or geological surveys.
South Sudan separated from Sudan in 2011 following decades
of civil war. Some officials in the new nation believe it has
unexplored deposits of gold, diamonds, copper, uranium,
chromite, manganese and iron ore.
"South Sudan will give Chinese companies the opportunity to
invest in the Republic of South Sudan in the areas of petroleum
and mining industries, and also in other economic circles," Dau
Under the new mining law firms can apply for a five-year
exploration permit, renewable for two five-year terms, with a
maximum area of 2,500 sq. km and a 25-year large-scale mining .
Qiang said in a brief statement China wanted to boost
economic cooperation but did not mention the loan talks or take
any questions from reporters.
"We want to enhance the friendship and the very good
relationship with South Sudan...to encourage a lot of Chinese
companies to join the development of South Sudan," Qiang said.
China has sought to bolster ties with South Sudan where it
has significant investments in the oil industry going back to
the time before the secession from Khartoum in 2011.
A Chinese official denied in March it had promised $8
billion in aid as announced by Juba last year but said more
could be offered if the country achieved a lasting
South Sudan's economic development depends on good relations
with long time foe Sudan through which the landlocked nation
needs to export its crude. Sudan dropped last week a threat to
close two export pipelines in a row over alleged support for
(Reporting by Andrew Green; Writing by Ulf Laessing, editing by