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38 www. bus- ex. com January 10

Rand Refinery Rand Refinery was established in 1920 in Germiston, a city not far west of Johannesburg. Its shareholders were and still are the major gold mining companies and its remit is still to operate as refinery and disposal agent for Africa's gold. In the process, over the intervening years, Rand Refinery has handled some 40,000 tons of gold, or around 30 per cent of all gold ever mined. Today, though, against an historic production high of 1,000 tons per annum, Rand Refinery is processing 400 tons. While revenues are steady, under the new strategic direction it is hoped that these will start to climb. Rand Refinery has a number of strategic advantages. It's the largest single integrated refinery and smelter site anywhere in the world; and one of only five centres accredited as a London Bullion Market Association referee, which means that it can assess other refineries' ability to assay gold. But it is a plant whose technology is attached to the past, at least when considering doré gold. This is the form in which gold is received from the mines, which is around 70 per cent gold mixed with other metals and impurities. To take this up to the 99.95 or 99.99 per cent pure level which Rand Refinery's customers want, a technique known as the Miller Chlorination Process is used, which involves blowing chlorine gas through molten gold. However, there is a cleaner alternative refining technique- electrowinning- which works on similar principles to a battery and deposits pure gold on cathode plates. High on Craig's agenda is the development of an electrowinning process that can be used as effectively with doré. Once gold is received at the refinery, the objective is to manage risk as effectively as possible. The price of gold is fixed twice a day by a conglomerate of bullion banks based in London. Rand Refinery works on an agency model, receiving gold in the morning and selling it on to bullion banks in back- to- back trading at either the afternoon fixing or at some other spot price as best determined by Rand Refinery's treasury department. In the process, doré from the mines needs to be assayed, which will determine the value they receive, and the bullion bank needs to specify the form in which it wants to receive the gold- bars, Krugerrands, coin blanks etc. Gold is one of the few materials that never loses its value. Even when used as part of some other product- electronic equipment, for example- it can still be reclaimed and will become indistinguishable from virgin gold. As such, it has long been an attractive alternative to paper money, even at government level. Last month, for example, India bought 200 tons of gold for $ 6.7 billion. At the same time, millions of private individuals are adopting January 10 www. bus- ex. com 39