Business failure, capital investment and information: mining companies in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1900-13

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Investment in mining enterprises in the British Empire was popular in the period 1880-1914 despite the high-risk nature of the business and the presence of unscrupulous company promoters who sought only pecuniary gain; most mining companies failed. This article examines the reasons for the failure of mining companies in Sudan to 1913, using this analysis to explore the importance of information for mining investment, the role of business and social networks in the formation of mining companies, the relationship between business and colonial government, and the 'gentlemanly' nature of the City of London as a financial centre with reference to the provision of capital and related specialist mining services. The main reason for the failure of mining in Sudan was deficient information on which investment decisions were based, related to inaccurate notions of mineral wealth located in the colony. Nevertheless, the dynamism of the City at this time can partly be explained by the ability to tease out commercial opportunity in the most marginal of locations with the minimum of capital outlay. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-248
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2009

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cited By (since 1996)1


  • Business failure
  • Capital investment
  • Mining Companies
  • Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
  • 1900-13

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