September 21, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The head of Sudan’s maiden gold refinery admitted, in a radio interview broadcast on Friday, that his establishment is facing problems in meeting standards for receiving international recognition.
- Workers processing gold at the new Sudan Gold Refinery. (Reuters)
Sudan opened its first gold refinery on Wednesday, 19 September, with the aim of boosting state revenues and improving the quality of its gold exports for the sake of tradability.
The East African country is looking for gold to make up for the budget deficit it incurred since losing three quarters of its oil production due to the secession of South Sudan in July last year. Government officials say gold exports generated 2.6 billion US dollars over the past 16 months.
Mohammed Hassan Osman, the general manager of the refinery, said during an interview with Sudan state-owned radio that the newly-opened facility needs to have uninterrupted production for three years in order to gain the international recognition that would allow Sudanese gold to be traded at international bourses.
Osman went on to reveal that he is planning to eke out international recognition within a year on the basis of the availability of resources and capabilities. He added that the lack of international recognition is causing Sudanese gold to be traded at low prices in international market.
Osman however expressed concerns that local companies operating in the field of gold mining would not abide by sending their production to the refinery. He called for ordering local gold-mining companies to process their production at the government-owned refinery.
Most gold industry groups such as London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) condition recognition of gold refiners on the "conflict-free" designation of their products.
Sudan recently issued 500 licenses for companies and individuals to mine for gold in the country’s southern region of Blue Nile, where ongoing fighting since August last year between the government and local insurgents has created dire humanitarian conditions.
The official said that the capacity of the refinery allows it to produce 200 kilograms on daily basis. He also said the facility would be able in the future to process Gold nuggets and produce silver and copper.