Kampala, Uganda — MININGREVIEW.COM — 10 May 2010 – Uganda has opened its first gold refinery, and plans to tap into the processing the precious metal from producers in neighbouring producing countries.
Managing director Yuri Bogoroditskiy told Reuters that the refinery “’ established by Russian-owned Victoria Gold Star Limited “’ had a capacity to process 1.2 tonnes of raw gold per month.
He added that the company attracted to Uganda because of its location and relative political stability.
“Uganda is at the centre of the producers of gold: eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya,” said Bogoroditskiy. “When we considered this, added to the fact that Uganda has a stable political system and supportive investment policies, we decided it was the best country in which to establish the refinery.”
The east African economy’s mineral industry is underdeveloped, characterised by small-scale miners mainly involved in gold and cobalt, the leading mineral exports.
Earnings from the resources reached a high of US$88 million (R660 million) in 2007 before slumping to US$52 million (R390 million) in 2008.
The government welcomed the new refinery and called on miners, goldsmiths and mineral dealers to support it. “I want to reaffirm the commitment of government in supporting Victoria Gold Star Limited,” minister of energy and mineral development Hillary Onek said in a statement.
Reuters reports that Uganda has seen a spike in foreign investment inflows lately following the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in its western region on the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.