Hope as ultra-modern gold refinery starts operations

Hope as ultra-modern gold refinery starts operations

What you need to know:

  • The facility is among the most advanced of its kind in Africa, using the latest gold refinery technology

Geita. A huge gold refinery has been set up in Geita in a development that promises to yield maximum benefits for miners from their mineral ores.

The Geita Gold Refinery Limited is owned and built by Tanzanian investors. It has also received an $8 million (about Sh18.4 billion) financing facility from Tanzania’s Azania Bank.

The modern gold refinery was built and designed to facilitate operations of all miners from the smallest artisanal one to the largest mining firms in the country.

Data, produced when the Minerals minister Dotto Biteko visited the factory at the weekend, shows that the refinery has the capacity of producing 440 kilogrammes of pure gold a day, purifying the minerals to the required quality of 999.5 percent. One of the investors in the project who doubles as its (the firm’s) board chairman, Mr Athuman Mfutakamba, said the factory will be one of its kind in Africa and that it will use the latest gold refinery technology.

“We have invested and will operate the most modern Assay Laboratory in East Africa. It also has an automated production line…Once fully operational, the business will create close to $1 billion in revenue per year,” he said.

The refinery incorporates the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) operational standards, he said, noting that this puts it on an advantageous position to apply for full membership of the organisation. Construction of the factory has been completed and that it will soon open for business.

Speaking during the event, Mr Biteko said the government viewed the refinery to be a game-changer in Tanzania’s mineral sector.

“Currently, the mining sector contributes handsomely to Tanzania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but it’s been unfortunate that for a long time, gold from Tanzania faces a challenge of quality when it gets to the market and this is why we see the presence of this factory to be a step forward in the government’s initiatives to finding solutions to challenges facing the sector,” he said.

He said the government placed a tender to look for a credible investor who would refine Tanzania’s gold in the year 2016.

“A total of 34 companies came forward but none of them was able to meet the requirements. When we re-advertised the tender, 16 companies came forward and that was how we picked this investor and we went ahead and gave him the license,” he said.

He said the coming of the refinery means that mineral traders in and outside Tanzania can now be assured of the quality, quantity and standards of gold they sell.

“This is a big boost. It is contrary to the prior situation when refinery was being conducted outside the country,” he said.

The Geita Regional Commissioner, Mr Robert Gabriel termed the establishment of the refinery as ‘a big revolution for the mineral sector’ and promised that the government at regional level will cooperate with the investor for the project.