Sudan, Turkey sign mining accord for gold, minerals

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan signed an agreement with a state-owned Turkish company on Thursday allowing it to mine for gold and other minerals in Sudan’s Red Sea state, a source at the Sudanese petroleum ministry said.

The agreement between Sudan’s Geological Authority, which falls under the petroleum ministry, and Turkey’s Mineral Research and Exploration General Directorate (MTA) allows two “square” areas in the Red Sea state to be mined, the source told Reuters.

The deal came a day after Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay left the country following a three-day official visit.

Awad Dahia, Sudanese state minister for petroleum, said the deal is the first for MTA outside of Turkey in the field of minerals, and expressed hope that the deal would benefit Sudan economically, according to state news agency SUNA.

Sudan’s economy has been struggling since the south of the country seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of its oil output. Sudan sharply devalued its currency in October after the government tasked a body of banks and money changers with setting the exchange rate on a daily basis.

The new system was part of a package of measures aimed at tackling an economic crisis and an acute shortage of foreign currency.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Yousef Saba, Editing by William Maclean