Demonstrators in the Red Sea state yesterday morning sealed off the grounds of gold-producing company Ariab in Hassai to protest what they see as the targeting of the company’s deputy chief executive, Mohamed Hagwab, a Beja from the region.
Local resident Haider Siraj said in an interview with Radio Dabanga’s Sudan Today program that people had stopped production and closed the main gate of the Hassai mine, the adjacent factory and the main camp.
He explained that the shutdown came against the backdrop of the mines minister’s decision to appoint an employee who is not from the region as the company’s general manager, bypassing Hagwab.
Protesters said they would only allow the company to return to work if their demands were implemented; they demand the appointment of Hagwab as director of the company and a commitment to social and societal responsibility.
In Port Sudan, capital of the Red Sea state, the Beja youth rally announced the closure of Ariab’s offices in the city, in solidarity with the demands of residents of Hassai, 200 km east. west of Porst Sudan.
In a memorandum addressed to the President of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan and to the Federal Minister of Mines, the Rassemblement des jeunes de Beja expressed its adherence to positive discrimination for the inhabitants of the region and demanded the dismissal of the director of the Ariab company. .
Gold-producing company Ariab’s Hassai mine began operating in 1992 and was Sudan’s first modern gold mine. 12 pits have been mined over the years.
Yesterday, Radio Dabanga reported that an environmental activist from Sudan’s Nile State warned of environmental damage and serious public health problems that have befallen the areas between the towns of Atbara and Berber due to traditional mining operations in which mills and chemicals such as cyanide are used.
The Sudanese government has made various different attempts to regulate gold mining and exports in Sudan. The Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) and authorities in Khartoum, such as the Ministry of Finance, therefore exercise some control over gold mining activities.
Deputy Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council and commander of the infamous Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo is linked to major companies and stakeholders in the gold mining industry.
Sudan would be the second gold producer in Africa and the ninth in the world.