Governor Lobong refutes claim on gold mining activity in greater Kapoeta
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Lochapio | PUBLISHED: July 10, 2023
Gold miners at a site in Kapoeta | Credit | Courtesy
The governor of Eastern Equatoria State Louis Lobong Lojore has refuted allegations on gold mining activity in greater Kapoeta.
He says there is no gold mining activity ongoing in the area but rather mineral exploration.
According to governor Lobong, he has been accused of engaging in gold mining and mismanaging the state’s gold resources in some social media platforms, a statement Singaita 88.3 FM has not independently verified.
In March this year, the government of South Sudan contracted ASWA Mining Company to carry out mining exploration to identify the areas with minerals in the State.
‘There has been a question about the money for the Gold, I hear people asking where is the money for gold? Where is the money for sugar? Where is the money logging? The issue of gold which people are talking about is do we really mining companies that are extracting the gold in Toposa land? You should know that there is mining exploration taking place and it’s not Louis who is giving the mining companies the License. All directives come from Juba and our work at the state level is to give directions where necessary to explore the minerals,’ Lobong stated.
He however thanked the communities in Kapoeta for paving the way for companies that carried out the mineral exploration.
‘Now these mining companies have not yet started mining the gold and people are already asking where the money for the resources is, what they are doing is that they want to take the samples of the soil so that they test to find out what they contain, find out if the soil is suitable for mining, farming and so on” he added.
Experts say South Sudan has the most important and best-known sites for artisanal and small-scale gold mining found mainly in Kapoeta area, Budi County, and Luri river basin of Centreal and Eastern Equatoria states.
Some estimates put the number of miners at 60,000 working at 80 different locations in the area, including Nanaknak, Lauro (Didinga Hills), Napotpot, and Namurnyang.
According to a report by the Enough project in 2020, the gold mining sector in the Kapoeta area has been criminalized. It noted that despite its legal framework, South Sudan’s gold sector remains ungoverned and poorly regulated.