The Director of Gold Coast Refinery – Ghana’s first and only gold refinery – Sampson Nortey, has revealed that his outfit is seriously under producing at an average of 5 percent of the refinery’s capacity.
The chemical line of the refinery has an installed capacity of 600 kg of gold per day and 180 metric tons per annum, while it also has the capacity to smelt about 150 kg of both dore and refined gold at a time.
Explaining the reason for the low production levels, Nortey attributed it to the low stock of gold it receives from the market.
Currently the refinery only receives gold input from small scale producers of gold in the country, since it does not have any contract yet with any of the large producing companies.
“Due to the strict regulations to the source of gold input for the refineries on the international market, it is impossible for the company to buy from illegal producers unlike their counterparts from India” he stated.
He however expressed the hope that in the next six months the refinery will go into contract with some of the producers of gold in the country in order to increase the refinery’s input feed.
Nortey said government could intervene to enhance the access to raw gold input, by ensuring that large producers of gold in the country refine or add value to at least about 20 percent of their produce before exporting out of the country.
“Last year the country was able to make an output of about 100 metric tons of gold, so if we have an installed capacity to refine 180 metrics tons per annum that should be more than the total production of the country,” he added.
Nortey further stated that, the refinery could take the entire production of the West Africa sub-region, since statistics for last year, shows the entire production in the sub region was about 163 metric tons.
If the refinery should operate in a double shift, it has a capacity of 300 to 340 metric tons per annum.
Nortey requested of the government to grant them a free zone certification permit to have a free zone status, which would enable them to import gold from the sub-region, refine and export to other countries.
“This would enhance the upscaling of the operations of the refinery,” he added.
The Minister of Trade, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, on a visit to the refinery indicated that government will provide all the support that is required for the only gold refinery in the country to succeed.
“Obviously, if the company requires any other form of public investment, then we will look at it purely on commercial basis,” he added.