Uganda is set to launch a gold refinery as the country looks to add value to one of its most popular minerals.
This high-capacity gold refinery – the first of its kind in the Great Lakes region – is being rated as one of the landmark enterprises established in the country over the last century as it will play a major role in Uganda’s burgeoning mining industry, according to a press statement from the company.
The CEO, Alain Goetz, hailed Uganda’s peace and stability in addition to a promising mineral industry as a huge incentive in the strategic establishment of the state-of-the-art gold refinery in the country.
Gold from Uganda and the Great Lakes region has always been sold raw on the international market, costing the region hundreds of millions of dollars annually in potential revenues over the years. The AGR will, however, reverse this trend.
Industry experts are very optimistic that this gold refinery will boost Uganda’s foreign earnings and revenues, increase employment across the mining value chain while also ensuring the transfer of skills and introduction of new technologies.
Gold has become a key export for Uganda. There is, however, limited mining of gold in Uganda, and the export numbers are somewhat disputed. Uganda faces a challenge of being used as a conduit for smuggled gold from rebel-controlled areas in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The country is, however, putting in place measures to block the entry of illicit gold by signing up to regional agreements that try to clamp down on the vice. As an emerging mineral resource market, sub-Saharan Africa has only had one major gold refinery of AGR’s capacity, located in South Africa.
AGR has the capacity to process raw gold to pure gold of 99.99%. In addition to the refinery, a geochemical laboratory for assaying any mineral samples has also been instituted to serve the local and regional mining industry with certified analysis.
This is another first in Uganda’s mining industry and should also help accelerate its growth, as soil samples have always been shipped out by air at a very high cost.
The company is expected to reveal the amount of investment it has made in Uganda and the capacity of the refinery.