APM mulls setting up gold refinery to boost small scale production
MINING: Gold miners are set to reap big after Alinani Precious Metals (APM) sets up a refining plant in Kenya to target the growing gold mining sector.
Expected to be one of the biggest plants in the region, the firm says the move would spur production for small scale, medium scale and established gold miners through a joint venture scheme.
Kenya’s mining sector remains largely informal, with more than 8,000 artisanal miners operating with inferior tools, which makes it hard for them to explore gold.
Small scale miners
APM chief executive Bupe Chipando says once the refinery is complete, it will offer miners a better alternative to extract value from their own mineral wealth rather than exporting raw commodities.
“The small miners in areas like Migori, Homa Bay, Siaya, Kisumu and Kakamega will be our key priorities as we begin this journey in Kenya and project a boom in the mining sector,” he said in a statement.
He however warned that if not properly controlled, they risk smuggling and fatalities could increase due to improper mining equipment and methods of mining.
Despite not indicating how much he will invest in the project, the CEO estimates that the facility will have the ability to distil about 300 kilograms of gold per day with a state-of-the-art equipment.
“By branding gold from abroad as Kenyan, the operation is merely imitating others - for example, the Swiss don’t mine the gold they refine in Switzerland,” Chipando said.
“We will train, finance and provide machinery as well as continuous technical support to our members once we set the ball rolling.”
The new plant would offer an important outlet for millions of individuals who dig for gold using basic technology.
“The only way to stop (smuggling) is having multiple refineries in Africa,” said Frank Mugyenyi, head of the minerals unit at the African Union recently.
The CEO said the company which is incorporated in Zambia and Kenya will also ensure miners get good price for their minerals as he revealed that plans were underway for implementation of the project that commences early next month.