By Dave Brown - Exclusive toGold Investing NewsThe northeastern African country of Sudan is the largest country in Africa and the Arab world, and the tenth largest in the world by area. More well known for civil conflict than resources, the country possesses significant mineral wealth within its territory including: petroleum, natural gas, uranium, tin, silver, manganese, zinc, iron, lead, copper, cobalt, nickel and gold. Last November, Sudan signed 10 agreements for gold and iron mining, as the African nation plans to more than double its gold output to 50 metric tonnes in the current year. Four of the agreements were signed with international companies including a Sudanese subsidiary of the Guernsey-based Toro Gold Ltd. and a division of Rika Global Impex Ltd., based in Mumbai. The agreements grant the companies exploration rights in the states of Northern Kordofan, Al-Shamaliya, Nahr al-Nil and the Red Sea, which are all located in the north of the country. Sudan expects to sign 50 additional agreements in 2011 as it is experiencing “a rush” from foreign companies for gold exploration, including from Australia, Europe and the US, according to Sudan's Mining Minister, Abdel Baqi al-Jailani. Mr. al-Jailani said that “over 200,000 of Sudan's artisanal miners, who camp in arid land in search for gold, have produced 23 metric tonnes of gold between January and October." Political Question Mark For investors with a relatively high appetite for risk, some consideration should still be accounted for with regards to the Darfur conflict aftermath, the lack of basic infrastructure in large areas, and a reliance by much of the population on subsistence agriculture ensuring much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years despite rapid rises in average per capita income over recent times.