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Sudan inaugurates first gold refinery to boost exports

Khartoum, Sep 21 (): Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan inaugurated the nation’s first gold refinery on Wednesday in Khartoum. The officials say the plant is one of Africa’s largest refineries.

Kamal Abdul- Latif, Sudanese Mineral Minister said at the inaugural ceremony the move of establishing a refinery came following the success in mining industry in Sudan and due to the partnership deal drawn between the finance and mineral ministries and the Central Bank of Sudan.

The production of the gold refinery will be more than 328 tonnes of gold each year. Thus, it becomes one of Africa’s largest gold refineries, ultimately challenging South Africa’s Rand Refinery in annual tonnage.

Rand Refinery is described as one of the world’s largest gold refineries as it processes “most of Africa’s gold.” It has the capacity to produce 600 tonnes of gold annually.

Analysts say the move is a part of the attempts taken by the Sudan government to compensate the loss of oil revenue caused when South Sudan was separated in July last year. The country lost three quarters from its total oil output after South Sudan became independent.

This new refinery will process silver and will also process gold from neighbouring nations, Egypt, Eritrea, the Central African Republic and Chad. The refinery is intended to decrease the extent of gold smuggling to markets, such as Dubai, as the producers should obtain more money for the higher-quality gold.

A news agency said Sudan has plans of selling gold up to $3bn (£617m) this year, double last year’s gold revenue. Arab League’s Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization’s recent survey said Sudan has a great mining potential.

While Sudan hopes establishing gold refinery can compensate the income loss, experts remain uncertain about the profitability of gold refinery as they consider much of the country’s gold will start to disappear in the black market and still could not compensate the money from oil.