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Lobong denies large-scale mining activities in Eastern Equatoria

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: Friday, December 1, 2023

Governor Louis Lobong Lojore of Eastern Equatoria State. |File photo.

Eastern Equatoria Governor Louis Lobong Lojore on Friday dismissed allegations of large-scale minerals mining in parts of the state.

Lobong said there are no such mining activities in the state, except for artisanal activities that he said are common in the area.

He also denied alleged perceptions that the state is richly endowed with a lot of minerals including gold, which his administration is exploiting for development projects.

“There are so many people who think that in Eastern Equatoria, there are a lot of minerals and there’s a lot of gold,” he said during the ongoing 7th governor’s forum in Juba.

“People assumed that Eastern Equatoria is using the money from the mineral for development. No, I want to assure you that, up to today we have not mined, we never mined anything, and we have never got any result from the mineral.”

Lobong, the longest-serving state governor since South Sudan’s independence, further said there are only some companies licensed to execute minerals exploration in the state.

According to him, there was only one licensed company carrying out small-scale mining at Ngawro, but which was previously shut down twice due to lack of transparency.

“What we are at the presence now is that some companies that been given explorations license by the national government, they are doing that.”

“Sometimes people don’t differentiate between exploration and mining, there’s only one company that has been given the license of scale mining in the place called Ngauro, and that company was more than two times shut down simply because they were no transparency.”

– Mining licenses –

Responding to Lobong’s remarks, First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar said mining is not only taking place in Eastern Equatoria State but in other states as well.

He disclosed that there are 93 licenses have been issued to exploration companies and 19 small-scale companies.

“It’s confirmed that we have 74 exploration licenses and 19 small-scale licenses, making a total of 93 mineral titles. Out of this 41 are active licenses, 4 are expired licenses, 38 are pending revocation, additionally there 10 mineral titles that are pending registration,” Machar disclosed.

However, he said the Minister of Mining had taken drastic measures to eliminate 40 percent of the total licenses without explaining the reasons.

“The Ministry of Mining drastic measure is to eliminate 40% of total licenses from the system, so mining is not only done in Eastern Equatoria, Central Equatoria also has, they also do artisan mining.”

“Western Equatoria and Greater Pibor Administrative area, there’s also mining in it, in Upper Nile, there’ mining being done in Maban area. In Raja, which is Western Bahr el Ghazal, there’s mining.”

South Sudan is one the African countries known for having diverse mineral resources such as copper, gold, diamonds, and limestone among others.

 

 

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