TANZANIA – Tanzania is set to commission a US$15 million gold refinery plant expected to have a production capacity of minimum 40 kilogrammes of refined gold per day, processed from almost one tonne of gold ore.
After decades of exporting raw gold, the refinery will enable Tanzania to export refined gold and earn more from the value addition process. The refinery is being established in the country’s administrative capital Dodoma.
The gold refinery is currently more than 80 per cent complete, and the first trial is set for October 25. Artisanal and small-scale miners will benefit from the new refinery in Dodoma, Tanzania, as they will be able to use their gold as collateral for loans.
According to Prince Mgisha, the chief operating officer of Eyes of Africa Ltd, a Serbian mining company that owns the refinery, the plant will cost $15 million and will process raw gold produced in over 19 regions in Tanzania and neighbouring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Artisanal and small-scale miners in the country have suffered from a lack of loans, capital and poor investment, but this is about to change,” said Mr Mgisha, adding that when the price of gold goes up, the same gold used as collateral for loans could still be sold for a higher price.
“As Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer, this is a huge step for our country and economy,” said Dotto Biteko, Tanzania’s Minister for Minerals during a recent media tour of the refinery.
The Bank of Tanzania plans to run a gold reserve with locally-refined stock in a bid to tap into the business potential of the Dodoma gold refinery. There are about 28 mineral trading centres in operation around the country. Statistics show that an average of 20kg of gold is traded per day per mineral hub.
Acacia Mining Plc’s Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi mines produce around 50,000 tonnes of gold and copper concentrate per year.
Earlier this year, President John Magufuli ordered the central bank to create a gold reserve to supplement national reserves and also enforce control on mineral exports.
Tanzania has been described as a sleeping economic giant because of its vast deposits of gold, tin, nickel, iron, copper, zinc, lead, diamonds and uranium; tanzanite, coal and industrial minerals such as soda, kaolin, gypsum, and phosphate.