Um Keddada — No permit has been issued for any mining company in the area of El Nayim, says the Commissioner of North Darfur's Um Keddada locality.
Commissioner Mohamed Osman said in an interview with Radio Dabanga on Friday that the no complaint has reached him from people in El Nayim "claiming that a gold mining company is operating in the area".
On Wednesday, residents of the El Nayim administrative unit demanded from the authorities to withdraw the license from a gold extraction company, that reportedly began to transport machines for a gold cyanidation plant in Um Gozein, 30 kilometres north of El Nayim, this week.
The commissioner pointed out that the issuance of licences to mining companies is subject to procedures at federal level. The state and locality authorities do not have a say in the process.
There used to be a company operating in the area of Um Gozein, based on a temporary approval of the federal Ministry of Minerals. "Its license was terminated before the Eid El Fitr [that started on 25 June]," Osman explained.
"It is not forbidden to the company to store its equipment in the area of El Nayim. People to can store their equipment where ever they want," he said.
"No mining company has a permit to work in the locality at the moment," he emphasized.
Cyanidation is the most commonly used process for gold extraction. The process is controversial because of the highly toxic nature of cyanide.
Protesters told Radio Dabanga from Um Keddada last week that factory workers brought equipment to Um Gozein on Tuesday, including cyanide which had been stored in the centre of the village market for a while, "without proper safety measures".
"We are dissatisfied with the actions of the government authorities, which concern the safety of the people and the environment. We have given the authorities a period of 72 hours, starting Wednesday, to cancel the approval."
He said that the factory at Um Gozein started working three months ago, after it previously operated in South Kordofan - where it was expelled.