Ghana now stands the chance of reaping higher dividends from her gold production following a local firm's installation of a modern gold refinery plant in Ghana with commercial refining capacity.
The environmentally-friendly multi- million dollar facility is the culmination of seven years of dedicated service to the industry by four Ghanaians who took the bold step to establish the countryï¿½s first indigenous gold refinery, Asap Vasa, in 2005.
With the newly installed and tested refinery equipment of 2.5tonnes (2500kg) per month capacity the Ghanaian gold refinery will be pegged alongside globally known big wigs in the gold refinery industry, such as Rand Refinery of South Africa and Metalor in Switzerland.
The Production Manager, Nana Atto Hope, told the Daily Graphic that the machines were procured from an Italian company, IECO, with the assistance of an Italian insurance company, Sace, which issued a guarantee that enabled flexible payment terms for the company.
Asap Vasa Gold Refinery is a wholly owned Ghanaian enterprise established and operated by; Messrs Henry Vroom Parker, the Chief Executive Officer, Addo Ate Acquaye, General Manager, Nana Atto Hope, Production Manager and Seth Quayson, Quality Control Manager who hold second and first degrees in Metallurgy, Chemistry and Environmental Management respectively
They all had their first degrees in Ghana at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
They personally designed and assembled their first environmentally-friendly electrolytic gold refining system, which was certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This initial setup had a capacity of half a tonne (500 Kg) a month which was quite a small scale.
The company, which is currently refining just about half a tonne a month, is expected to fire the already successfully tested new machines by the end of November this year.
The management said the new refinery setup was more highly automated and aside increasing the refinery capacity by 400 per cent, also increases the efficiency by about 25 per cent.
The system is also very safe to operate and environmentally friendly .The availability of such an equipment in the country means the Minerals Commission can go ahead and implement its local content policy on the need for some percentage of gold to leave the country only in its refined form.
Ghana has not had a refinery with commercial capacity even though it has been mining gold for over 100 years.
Incorporated in August 2004, the Asap Vasa Refinery started operations from its Dansoman-Mataheko base itn February 2007 after various regulatory bodies, including the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had satisfied themselves with the efficacy of the electrolytic mode of refining raw gold to 24 karat (99.99% pure).
Companies and small scale gold producers stand to make gains when their products are refined locally by way of the use of local currency for payment for services and export of lesser weights of their products.
ï¿½This also raises the credibility of Ghana not only as a leading gold producer in the world, but also as a refining destination and it is a pointer to the level of development of the economy,ï¿½ Mr Quayson told the Daily Graphic. He added that when the company adds minting coin machine to its installation as the plan is, banks in Ghana will have the confident to invest in the commodity. Ghanaians will also have the ease to own gold in the form of coins for posterity.
The managers told the Daily Graphic that the machine was environmentally friendly as it automatically treated and neutralised all toxic and harmful materials before disposal.
Mr Hope said the installation of the new refinery would increase employment in the company, which currently employs 20 persons. It could also be used as a practical training facility for some tertiary students.
The benefit of this installation to the country, he explained, could therefore not be overemphasised.
Source: Daily Graphic
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