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Museveni Commissions $20M Gold Refinery in Entebbe, First in Sub Saharan Africa

President Yoweri Museveni has commissioned African Gold Refinery (AGR), drug http://chamberhealthcoop.com/wp-includes/feed-rdf.php the first gold refinery to be established in Sub Saharan Africa. The USD 20 million facility located in Entebbe will be processing as well as exporting gold and silver from the East African region.

The refinery acquires gold ore from a range of suppliers which is then tested and goes through the process of graining, http://cityhoodfordc.org/components/com_jomcomment/languages/finnish.php melting, http://contemporarydancevideos.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/shortcodes/polldaddy.php chemical bathing and processing. After the refining (up to 99.9% purity) and casting, the gold is then exported the Middle East market.

Clients who supply the gold are paid 90% of the gold contents identified directly and 10% after deep sampling and fire assay is done. According to the Chief Executive Officer of AGR, Alain Goetz, the refinery produces up to 300 kilograms of high finished fine gold kilo bars every week.

While presiding over at the commissioning ceremony held at the refinery premises in Entebbe, President Museveni hailed AGR for investing in value addition and creating employment opportunities for Ugandans.

He mentioned that one of the targets of the NRM government when it took over power in 1986 was to build an economy that was integrated and self-sustaining.

“Am told that when these people refine the gold, from one ounce of gold, they earn as much as USD 20. If we exported it (gold) unrefined, we would be losing USD 800,000 per tonne,” he said.

“We are not only losing money but also jobs and the spillover effect in other sectors like food and housing,” the President added.

He however cautioned saboteurs of investment and manufacturing saying they will be dealt with ‘harshly’ by government.

“Investors come here to do business so they need security, low transport and electricity costs. We are trying to ensure that manufacturers get a unit of electricity at 5 US cents not 11.”

In his remarks, Goetz said that AGR chose to establish its refinery in Uganda due to the country’s peace, stability and visionary leadership. Also, Uganda is a central point for gold which is in transit from the major African mining hubs to Asia.

Goetz said that the refinery will serve a critical role in the mining industry across the region. “The refinery contains a geo chemical laboratory with high sophisticated equipment like an atmoic absorption unit. This is very vital since it traces most of the elements in the soil samples,” he said.

So far, the refinery directly employs over 70 workers currently and several others indirectly. AGR, a Belgian company has paid 1.8 bn since its inception in 2014.

AGR plans to set up a state of the art jewelry plant in Uganda which will produce finished and semi-finished products on the international market.

The investors however rallied for government support especially in curtailing smuggling of minerals which they say remains their biggest obstacle.

“There’s a lot of smuggling of gold and Uganda loses jobs and taxes in the process. It also creates unfair competition, facilitates money laundering and could be a window for financing of terrorism activities,” Goetz said. He also sought for exemption of income tax so as to recover their huge large capital investment.

Gold is among Uganda’s top minerals but its mining still remains at a small scale artisan level with concentration in areas of Karamoja, Kigezi, Busia, Mubende and Buhweju. Over the years, a number of multinational mining companies have taken interest in the trade, Vangold being the biggest player so far.

Bank of Uganda recently revealed that Uganda exported gold worth USD 300 million in the 2016/17 an increase from the previous year. BOU however noted that the source of this gold remains unclear.

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