China Lends Money To South Sudan To Develop Mining Sector And Infrastructure

China Lends Money To South Sudan To Develop Mining Sector And Infrastructure

From Business Day Live

China will help South Sudan develop a mining sector and is in talks to lend it between $1 billion and $2 billion for road, power and agriculture projects, Oil and Mining Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Chinese ambassador Ma Qiang, Dau said China would provide $43 million to conduct a geological study to help South Sudan’s plans to hand out mining licences in its search for gold and other metals.

He gave no further details on the discussed loan.

China has been very active in the African continent as it tries to quench its huge appetite for natural resources.

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 is Africa’s newest country, having seceded from its northern neighbour in 2011, after years 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 said. Under the new mining law, firms may apply for a five-year exploration permit, renewable for two five-year terms, with a maximum search area of 2,500km², and a 25-year large-scale mining permit.

Mr Qiang said in a brief statement that China wanted to boost economic co-operation, 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.

Read more at Business Day Live.