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The first step on a long road to establishing a viable mining sector in South Sudan

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South Sudan has unique opportunities for the development of the mining industry, provided that this development is carried out gradually as part of a logical multi-annual action plan.

This type of plan, operating for decades, is needed due to competition from many other countries for new mining projects. It is worth saying this openly, it is a market where many other countries offer slightly better conditions and much safer investments.

Even now, in the difficult political situation around us, it is necessary to think about and work out gradual reforms and changes that will be understandable to the world’s major investors in this sector.

According to the authors, it is possible to develop such a plan for each of the twelve provinces, and in this article, we present a draft of such activities for minerals other than oil and gold.

We believe that for these other minerals, a different (less central) approach is necessary, ie working with local forces, authorities, local organizations and entrepreneurs.

First and foremost, the first step in any province should be to train even a small handful of people who will understand the difficult problems at the interface between the mining industry and environmental and socio-economic realities. To paraphrase a saying of one theorist: it is the frames that decide everything.

Technology and sector development policy

The special situation of South Sudan results from the fact that there has been progress in the technology of mineral extraction and it has become relatively cheaper than in the past to transport machinery and equipment to the site of the mine construction. At the same time, new technologies are more water-saving, which is of key importance for investment decisions in South Sudan.

However, these water-saving technologies are not cheap and concern only a certain group of minerals.

Many minerals have high costs, not on the ore extraction side, but these minerals have particularly high costs for building a plant that will extract a commercial product from this ore.

In such a situation, the basic question arises whether it would make economic sense to transport ore to a distant processing plant at all. So far, the costs of transport by land, ie trucks, have been and are so high that many projects have been terminated because of this. But let’s look at such solutions that may be possible in the future. Ore rafting on rivers is a song of the future and in the conditions of this region it is technically impossible (for decades to come). However, projects of purposefully constructed airships for the mining industry begin – for moving mining machinery in parts and possibly production. It is worth noting that the ISL (in-situ-leaching) technique, which is water-saving, can only be used for some deposits, but the preparation of a mine in such a technology takes many years (even up to five years).

Also, the construction technique of modern fall tunnels, which resulted in a huge increase in extraction in Australia, requires many years of preparation and site research. Then the ordering of machines and devices takes place, which is also not easy because such a machine for drilling the downhole must be quite individually designed. This technological advancement will surely gradually allow for solutions that will lower the costs of building and operating a mine, even in such difficult areas as South Sudan.

Creating technical and human resources

South Sudan is in dire need to diversify its economy by establishing and developing mining sector. According to the authors, what is important is the creation of facilities for the mining industry, i.e. assembly, servicing and transport of equipment for mining machines, training people in the basic knowledge of the mining industry, development of competences in local authorities in understanding that oil mines and gold, and mines of other minerals require a completely different approach.

Technical facilities require the decision of each of the provincial authorities where they could be located. It seems like a fantasy, we do not have a mine yet and we are already indicating a place for technical service. Yes, but this must be done in advance, indicating to investors that here and there it will be possible to create a place for service or repair of mining machines.

We believe that each province should think about where and how it would be possible to create a technical center and educate people in the field of mining. Nobody “from the headquarters” will do it, because only local groups interested in this topic can come up with something real.

The second task of each province should be to create an education system for at least a few people from each year in the geological direction and also for several people in the direction of the mining industry. We are talking about a school for people from different provinces that would educate a minimum number of people – it would be the seed from which the national staff will grow in a decade.

A school of this type with scholarships for people from all provinces of South Sudan (say 4-6 people from each province for each year) would be the primary place to transfer knowledge to the future national staff. This can only be done by identifying and educating people on potential mining projects in South Sudan and their value for investment. Without the support of people who understand what such industry is, it will not be possible to convince local communities to the difficult process of agreeing to such investments.

History and potential resources

Previous geological survey and prospecting conducted in the 1970s and 1980s by Hunting Geology and Geophysics, Chevron Oil Company, and the Belgian Mission show that South Sudan have potential rich deposits of major metals, precious stones, energy minerals, and industrial materials including gold, copper, manganese, uranium, lead, zinc, nickel, marble, diamond and rare earth metals.

Since then, there has never been more detailed geological review to properly investigate potential quantities and commercial viability of the minerals.

Geological, hydrogeological, hydrological, environmental and seismic information as well as its archiving and description of the legal status

Geological information is important to determine where local mining companies can be set up.

It is worthwhile for each of the twelve regions of South Sudan to take steps to create a local database containing as much information as possible about their territory.

Creating such a database requires individual actions in each province, but it is easier now in the age of computers and the Internet. It is especially important for the mining industry to create a database of water resources and available storage options. Water is crucial for many mining investments – without it, even a valuable deposit is worthless because it is impossible to produce metal concentrate from it.

Thus, in each region, one would have to decide where there might be little water resources that could be used for the extractive industry – unfortunately often without recovery. So a local water resource management policy is needed and here only the regional authorities and society have to be active.

The real situation is that mining companies will not spend (substantial) money on geological research and preparation of the mine project if there is no allocation of water for mining purposes in the area. Therefore, it is water and information about its resources that will determine the direction of investment in the future.

In our opinion, the first task should be to raise the competences of people in local authorities of twelve regions in terms of the basic principles of organizing similar mineral management systems.

South Sudan, after the end of internal conflicts, there are no people at the local (provincial) level who would know the basic issues related to the promotion of mineral exploration and extraction.

According to the authors of the article, remote training (via Teams / Skype) for people from all twelve regions of South Sudan on the following topics should be organized:

Index of topics for the training of provincial officials and representatives

Who the potential investors in South Sudan might be and what risks these investors need to understand before making any investment decisions.

What are the minerals, what is a mineral deposit, why are various minerals sought after all over the world

How far one mineral deposit can go, why are the boundaries of the mineral deposit irregular. Why the deposit may have different sizes depending on the changes in the price of the mineral – what do the so-called geological resources and what do the so-called industrial resources.

What is a concession area – which means that an entity has the right to search for a mineral in a given area

What is geological information, i.e. something that is collected as a result of research

From prospecting to building a mine – why does it often take 4 to 15 years? How is the construction of a mine being prepared and how is the construction of a processing plant carried out?

Water problem – the amount of water for the mine and the amount of water for the processing plant. Dangers related to the contamination of this water.

What minerals provide the most employment in their extraction and processing.

Why do mines operate for a short time – sometimes only 8-10 years, sometimes 15 years and very rarely over 30 years.

Problems with leaving heaps and remains of the mine and mining plant – who is to clean it up and how.

What contamination is formed after almost every mine. How should the mine area be secured so that it does not damage the environment in its vicinity?

Distribution of money from profits – problems that await South Sudan in this regard

How much can South Sudan really gain from a mine that sells a concentrate of a given mineral for $ 200 million for, for example, 10 years of production.

Why local communities should receive a higher percentage of income from small mines opened on the local market. How to establish these issues.

Why are medium-sized and small mines a much higher percentage of income for the local community than “Big” giants.

How to estimate the value of water that will be irreversibly used by a given mine. Why is it so important in the overall decision-making process.

Why is it important to create special economic zones for the production of machinery and equipment for the mining industry. What can be achieved this way.

Should the mine have its own energy generation system? Or maybe there should be an energy supply system for a group of mines (a kind of “energy company”) for a region where more mines can be built. What is worth discussing in each region of the country – without energy, there will be no mines.

Conclusions

The authors of this article can assist in giving lectures in such an online training for provincial authorities.

In our opinion, a first step is needed on a long road that will take many years. And the described sequence of conduct is the most logical sentence

However, what is needed is someone who would fund the idea and set up the technical site of such an online academy for the provincial authorities. As always, you need a sponsor who would like to sponsor such an undertaking, i.e. by agreeing who from each province could take part in a several-hour-long training in these matters once a month.

We are open to cooperation.

About the authors:

For 25 years, Piotr Syryczyński has been leading various projects of privatization of mining plants and their nationalization. He participated as a banking engineer in supervision over the implementation of new investments. He has experience from a number of European countries and projects in Siberia. He can be reached at qwerty@zwarszawy.pl or Piotr.syryczynski@multiconsultgroup.com

Akoon Maluach

Akoon Maker Maluach is a former student of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University (ANU) Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. He holds a combined Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering with Honours from ANU. He served in Australian Army Reserve from 2008-2012. He can be reached at akoonmaker@gmail.com

Marzena Sadowska, a hydrogeologist with many years of experience in geotechnical supervision, projects for the construction of new plants, also underground and water intakes, problems arising from the operation of mines and similar issues.

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Somali Forces Battle Militants For Hotel In Mogadishu: Police

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Mogadishu (AFP), Nov 28 – Somalia’s security forces exchanged gunfire with militants holed up in a hotel in Mogadishu on Monday after Al-Shabaab stormed the popular venue near the presidential palace and laid siege overnight.

Sporadic gunfire and explosions could still be heard after dawn around the Villa Rose, a hotel in a secure central part of Mogadishu frequented by lawmakers and public officials.

Police said late Sunday that government forces were seeking to “eliminate” a number of armed militants inside the Villa Rose after attacking the hotel in a hail of bullets and explosions.

National police spokesman Sadik Dudishe said many civilians and officials had been rescued, but did not offer further details.

Witnesses described two massive explosions followed by gunfire that sent people fleeing the scene in Bondhere district. The hotel is just a few blocks from the office of Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Al-Shabaab, a militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda that has been trying to overthrow Somalia’s central government for 15 years, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), a 20,000-strong military force drawn from across the continent, praised the “swift” security response to the attack in a statement late Sunday.

On its website the Villa Rose describes the hotel as the “most secure lodging arrangement in Mogadishu” with metal detectors and a high perimeter wall.

– Retaliatory attacks –

Al-Shabaab has intensified attacks against civilian and military targets as Somalia’s newly-elected government has pursued a policy of “all-out war” against the Islamists.

The security forces, backed by local militias, ATMIS and US air strikes, have driven Al-Shabaab from central parts of the country in recent months, but the offensive has drawn retribution.

On October 29, two cars packed with explosives blew up minutes apart in Mogadishu followed by gunfire, killing at least 121 people and injuring 333 others.

It was the deadliest attack in the fragile Horn of Africa nation in five years.

At least 21 people were killed in a siege on a Mogadishu hotel in August that lasted 30 hours before security forces could take control from the militants inside.

The UN said earlier this month that at least 613 civilians had been killed and 948 injured in violence this year in Somalia, mostly caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) attributed to Al-Shabaab.

The figures were the highest since 2017 and a more-than 30-percent rise from last year.

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Dr. Majak D’ Agoôt: a victim of his own success”

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By Daniel Akech Thiong

Dr. Majak D’ Agoôt joined the SPLA as a secondary school student like many others who heard the call to arms in 1983 to fight for the liberation of South Sudan. He contributed to several fronts during the struggle including the reversal of the SPLA misfortunes in the 1990s in Equatoria, especially at Bunio, and in the Blue Nile in Yabus, Kurmuk, Geizan, Ora, Shali el Fil, Wadega, and Ulu. He was also known for his innovative skills in laying mines and his other major contribution was the training of the new forces at Bonga. He never stopped learning whenever he had an opportunity. He is mostly self-taught. When opportunities for distance learning began to open in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Dr. Majak enrolled and obtained his bachelor’s degree. During the negotiation of the peace agreement from 2002-2005, he attended classes in person in London.

Dr. Majak D’ Agoôt is currently a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the African Leadership Center, King’s College London. He is the former Deputy Chief of the Sudanese Intelligence and South Sudan’s Deputy Defense Minister. He formerly held the role of Senior analyst at the Changing Horizon Institute for Strategic Policy Analysis (CHI-SPA). He has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and think tank pieces in media outlets in Africa, the Middle East, and the West, covering various policy spheres. He holds an MSc in Quantitative Finance and a Ph.D. in Financial Economics from SOAS, University of London. He also has an MSc in Security Sector Management from Cranfield University and an MA in War Studies from King’s College London.

Dr. Majak underwent military training in Ethiopia, Israel, and Cuba. These courses turned him into a military intellectual at an early age. Dr. Majak trained some of the best SPLA units and three officers’ cadet shields (5, 6, and 7). His hard work and discipline transformed him from a guerrilla commander into a productive and prolific scholar. His vast experience as a trainer and operational field commander has forged an avid tactical and strategic thinker.

A humane politics

His politics is mostly clean as he does not like to deal under the table. Years ago, a man who had been alleged to have worked against Dr. Majak found himself under the custody of a hostile foreign agency. The man was on a duty in a foreign country doing counterinsurgency duties. The foreign agency caught him and innocently accused him of spying on their country. They took him to a dark place where people rarely survive. Dr. Majak received the news, and he called a colleague of his in a high position (a defense minister) to immediately transfer this person to a military detention center. This was done and thereby saving the life of that person. After this transfer, the two governments were able to negotiate the release (this stage would not have been reached had it not been for the intervention of Dr. Majak). When I heard this story, I asked Dr. Majak why he saved the life of someone whom he knew as working against him. His response was impressive: I won’t know what to tell his children when I meet them in the future knowing that my intervention could have saved their dad’s life.

He also advocates for others. Years ago, Hon. Philip Thon Leek Deng was relieved as the Governor of Jonglei. The office of the President prepared a decree that appointed Engineer Bior Ajang Duot as a national minister in Khartoum. Dr. Majak saw the decree and went to the President and told him a story: Hon. Philip Thon Leek was the only person from Duk and he has been relieved if you give this position to another person from Twic East, our people of Duk will have nobody at the state level and at the national level. This would not be fair. Kiir reversed the order and appointed Hon. Philip Thon to go to Khartoum as a national minister. Dr. Majak, of course, had to plead with his own Twic East Constituency to convince people that his action was in the best interest of Twic East and that he had nothing against Eng. Bior, who would have a technical job at the Ministry of Petroleum.

A bumpy political ride

When I met Dr. Majak D’ Agoot Atem in 2012 in Dallas, Texas, I asked him, over lunch, about the political situation in Juba. There were rumors about his falling out with the President. He told me that the worse that he could do against the President was nothing more than resign from his government. Despite the toxic politics prevalent throughout South Sudan, he cared about the deeply personal relationship between the two of them built over decades of genuine comradeship. During the entire interim period, rumors of coups were commonly circulated, and the name of Dr. Majak had been mentioned a few times. For example, in 2009, Generals Malong and Gregory accused Dr. Majak D’Agoot (also a general) of planning a coup. This turned out to be one of the four false accusations that occurred between 2009 and 2013.

It has been an open secret that General Malong Awan Anei Tong, who had been a close friend of President Salva Kiir, had a beep with Dr. Majak. A part of this beeping had to do with the formation of the SPLA from 1983-1987. The actual formation of the SPLA became completed around 1987. Many familiar names [Pagan Amum, Oyay Deng, Deng Alor, Paul Malong, Bol Madut, etc] you know from the SPLA did not join the SPLA, in the same manner, those of Koriom and Muor-Muor joined: they had their own armed movements and with their own ranks, which all gradually built the coalition that we came to know as the SPLA. When ranks were converted to the SPLA ranking system in 1987, Gen. Malong had already been promoted to a Major, which made him an Alternate Commander. Dr. Majak was still a Captain. The first grievance started in 1991 when Dr. Majak and his entire batch were made commanders. Gen. Paul Malong was still in jail (detained by Commander William Nyuon Bany). This arrest caused Gen. Malong to forfeit his seniority, but he was later promoted to commander with those of Biar Atem Ajang, George Athor Deng Dut, and Pieng Deng Kuol Arop Biong. Gen. Malong had never accepted this guerilla injustice. But he would not have had any issue with Dr. Majak had it not been for other events.

The SPLA was managed at various camps called headquarters (that distrusted each other so badly that you might need to ask for permission to leave your camp to visit another camp). The most important headquarters toward the end of the war were that of the Commander-in-Chief Dr. John Garang and that of his deputy Commander Salva Kiir. Dr. Majak was a rising star and a trusted commander in Kiir’s headquarters alongside those of the late Gen. Dominic Dim. Those of Nhial Deng, Pagan Amum, Deng Alor, Oyay Deng, Gen. Bior Ajang, Gen. James Oth, Gen. Kuol Manyang, and others were prominent in Dr. Garang’s camp.

On the administration of the three regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Bahr Al Ghazal, the two power centers pushed their own guys into positions of influence. Commander Salva Kiir managed to push Dr. Majak up on the administrative leadership of Bahr Al Ghazal. Gen. Paul Malong who was fully back in the operations in the region might have viewed this negatively.

Then while Dr. Majak was in the administrative leadership of Bahr Al Ghazal, he opposed the slave redemption scheme, a project that Dr. Majak saw as a fraud while Gen. Malong saw it as a beneficial venture [this information is in the SPLA archive]. Dr. Majak’s position was not popular among the ranks, and he lost, but he took advantage of this to pursue his studies in the UK. When the SPLA was reorganized in 2005 into a slim force led by one active Lt. General (Oyay) and 15 active Major Generals, Dr. Majak’s name was not on the active list. After President Salva Kiir took over the leadership of the SPLA and the autonomous Southern regional government, he recalled Dr. Majak and gave him the security docket. Dr. Majak once again became the boss of Gen. Paul Malong. Gen. Malong managed to secure the governorship of Northern Bahr Al Ghazal, which relieved him from this uncomfortable position.

When the war happened in December 2013, Gen. Malong had tremendous power. Dr. Majak was among those accused of the coup. He was locked up along with many others. The situation divided people in Juba. There were those who wanted to harm those who were detained and there were those who worked hard to protect those who are detained. This was the precise point where those from Dr. Majak’s camp began to allegedly claim that some politicians from Greater Bor allied themselves with Gen. Paul Malong and sought to harm Dr. Majak.

There are indications that President Salva Kiir realized that there were different games at play. One was a competition within the Greater Bor Community among competing politicians, which quickly degenerated into a Bor County versus Twic East County online war, which was picked up by live video makers. The other was the SPLA commanders trying to settle scores from the era of the civil war under the darkness of the unfolding chaos. President Kiir chose to take a pause and he secretly began to protect Dr. Majak both in Juba and in Nairobi.

Gen. Paul Malong lost his influence. His space, which was more than just being the Chief of Staff, attracted competitors. One individual who initially emerged as the winner was Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial. Both Hon. Nhial and Dr. Majak had been in the administrative leadership of Bahr Al Ghazal during the civil war. They also came from two main power centers with Hon. Nhial owes his rise to Dr. John Garang while Dr. Majak owes his rise to President Salva Kiir. It is natural that they could see each other as competitors. It was an open secret that Hon. Kuol Manyang and Hon. Daniel Awet, two prominent members of the SPLM, favor Hon. Nhial. Given his prominent role in Greater Bor Community, this position of Hon. Kuol antagonized Dr. Majak’s camp. When Hon. Kuol came out in 2021 voicing his concerns about the direction of the country, Dr. Majak’s camp distanced itself from his message as a form of retaliation (the message was good, but the medium was viewed with suspicion).

Recent events leading to the dissolution of the Greater Bor Community Association

Considering the preceding anecdotes, Dr. Majak’s camp finally began to view the politicians who wielded control within the Greater Bor Community Association as people for whom reconciliation is impossible. They began to see the Greater Bor Community Association as a hot spot of hostility toward the person of Dr. Majak, with the help of social media, the Twic East Community began to view antagonism toward Dr. Majak (and equally toward Hon. Rebecca de Mabior) from the community lenses. Dr. Majak had to make a political choice: continue to support an association that has allegedly been working to bury him politically alive or join those who have been voicing complaints about this association and called to abandon it.

Future

Dr. Majak had resisted giving up on the idea of the Greater Bor Community Association for many years despite the pressure from his core support base of Twic East County. But if he were to remain a politician, he had to do what politicians do: realize that some constituencies can never vote for you due to a genuine communal grievance or a manufactured communal grievance, and it is okay to invest your energy elsewhere. There are 78 counties in South Sudan. If Dr. Majak ever decides to run for the Presidency of South Sudan or the Governorship of Jonglei State (which he has never ever mentioned), he can invest in counties where the negative campaign against his brand is less severe while leaving those constituencies that do not like him to his rivals. Even if one were to get 100% votes from the three counties of the former Bor District those will not be enough to guarantee one’s future in national politics. Politics is about ideas and not about clans or which community association you belong to. If your ideas are not needed in one place (including in your own village), you are free to market them in different places including outside of your country. If Dr. Majak chooses to just retire from politics today, his achievements would remain lofty.

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Kiir fires, appoints multiple officials in Upper Nile State

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President Salva Kiir - June 22, 2022. Photo credit: PPU
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JUBA.  President Salva Kiir has relieved and replaced several ministers, county commissioners, independence commissioners and an advisor in Upper Nile State.

In a presidential decree read on the national broadcaster – SSBC, President Kiir removed the State Advisor for Economic Affairs, Nyanuer William Nyuon.

He also relieved the Minister of local government and law enforcement, Thon Mun Kerjok and appointed Nyanuer William in his place.

The Minister of Peace Building Tut Simon, the Minister of Trade and Industry Simon Dup Puok Ter, the Minister of Labor, Public Service and Human Resources Development Joseph Mawut Deng, and the Minister of Road and Bridges Monyluak Machar Bilkuei – have all been fired.

The Head-of-state also sacked several independence commissioners in the oil-rich state.

They are the Chairperson Anti-Corruption Commission James Duer Chol, Deputy Chairperson of the Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Commission James Muonyluk Mojok, and the Member of the Human Rights Commission Joseph Lat Kuol.

Meanwhile, he appointed Gatwech Jok Deng as Economic Affairs Adviser to replace Nyanuer William Nyuon.

Jeramiah Deng Akol has been appointed as the new Minister of Peace Building, Simon Ruot Reing as Minister of Trade and Industry, Reath Nyok as Minister of Labor, Public Service, and Human Resources Development, and Thomas Johnson Anye as Minister of Road and Bridges.

Kiir further fired the commissioners; Moses Achuil Guek Deng of Baliet County, Gieth Ador Noor of Akoka County, and Dok Guot Ngor of Renk County.

He appointed Wai Nyuon Wai as Commissioner of Akoka County, Joseph Deng as Commissioner of Baliet County, and Kak Badiite as Commissioner of Renk County

 

 

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