The Government of Sudan has signed contracts with 50 firms to explore for gold in the country.

Gold exploration will be carried out in the Geddarif, North Kordofan, South Kordofan, Kassala, the Red Sea, Nahral-Neel, South Darfur and the Northern States.

Sudanese minister of minerals Abdul Baqui Al-Jailani said that the gold refinery, which is currently in construction, is scheduled to start its operations in early 2012, with a production capacity of 150t of gold and 30t of silver.

Three firms from Jordan, China and Turkey have entered into a production circle, increasing the number of gold-producing companies in the country to seven.

The gold mining sector in Sudan had a total production of 70t last year, reports Xinhua.