Sudan dispatched a research team to revitalize a network of gold mines in Darfur previously linked to the family of the countrys most powerful militia leader.

The team from the General Authority for Geological Research seeks to resume production at the site in the Jebel Amer region of North Darfur and increase it over the next three months, the Mining Ministry said in a statement.

The mines were recently handed over to Sudans government after being held since 2016 by Al Gunade, a construction and trading firm owned by members of militia chief Mohamed Hamdans family.

Read more: Warlord-Linked Sudanese Firm Hands Over Gold Mines to Government

A former enforcer for Sudans veteran dictator Omar al-Bashir, Hamdan joined the 2019 coup against him and now has a senior role in Sudans transitional government.

The handover is a move toward formalizing the gold-mining sector that cash-strapped Sudan has touted as an alternative to oil. The country lost three-quarters of its crude reserves when South Sudan seceded in 2011.

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