South African based company
Wide range of skills; refining, assaying, gold buying, quality control (IS0 17025), security, metal accounting, project management, construction, training, skills handover, metallurgy and other.
AurTec (Pty) Ltd, our South African based company, has more than 25 years experience in operating assay laboratories (www.superlabs.co.za) and 5 years in building and operating precious metal refineries
(www.silkroutegold.com). This includes the minting of gold coins and bars. The four key people have collectively over 100 years of experience ranging over many countries in Africa and Central Asia. Overall, this experience encompasses a wide range of skills; assay, gold buying, quality control (IS0 17025), security, metal accounting, project management, construction, training, skills handover, metallurgy and other. Quality control and security skills are believed to be KEY to operating precious metal refineries due to the very high value per unit volumes.
The environmentally friendly and energy efficient hydrometallurgical refinery process has been developed and improved over the years. It is currently manufactured in Turkey. This is based upon the aqua regia process and since there is a minimum of heating processes, gold losses are minimized. Previously in the industry, the Haber or Chlorine process was favoured, however, the capital cost is now typically more than fourfold for similar sized capacity. Due to the relative simplicity of the hydrometallurgical process, projects can be implemented in 9-12 months as opposed to a few years. Proposals have also been tabled to large gold mining companies, however, due to their internal project management requirements, and other assurance type processes, the cost of a hydrometallurgical refinery can be doubled, as well as the implementation schedule.
There has also been a move in the world to gold coins and bars being used as financial instruments, particularly by Asian countries. Another trend is the minting of coins of countries with stamps of local heritage and people. Our company has expertise in this area as well as setting up and training of local people as jewelers. The dies for the minting are expertly machined in South Africa but this skill and equipment could also be transferred.
Gold buying from artisanal miners in countries is also becoming prevalent. Typically, this is not well regulated and leads to miners receiving relatively low prices compared with metal exchange prices.
Governments are becoming more involved in passing legislation to improve these conditions and to regulate tax income. Key to this regulation process is having in country refineries. South Africa has a very large precious metal refinery, however, their ‘Know Your Customer’ process which also entails declaring the exact origin of the gold has become onerous, and a very high proportion of applicants are rejected. It would thus be better for governments to perhaps regulate this process in-country. The margins at which gold can be purchased from Artisanal miners also makes for good economics in operating of a precious metal refinery. These margins can also be changed over time to afford internal country growth aims.
Typically, as fair payment is received from the miners, this leads to large increases in production.
Having an assay laboratory as part of the precious metal refinery also allows for fair and undisputed measurement of gold content of the artisanal miner’s gold buttons and small bars. This is believed to be paramount in the trade. Proper melting and assay of the gold is also a requirement since low value metal such as tungsten has the same density as gold and can be blended with the gold. This results in overpayment and loss to the buyer.
Project turnaround time (months)
Experience and Expertise
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