Thursday, November 19, 2009
Dubai gold refiner looking for West African mined gold suppliers
One of Dubai's two gold refiners is actively seeking new supplies in West Africa as it builds a new trading team to help it become a “mini bullion bank”
Author: Jonathan Leff
Posted: Monday , 29 Sep 2008
KYOTO, JAPAN (Reuters) -
Al Ghurair Giga Gold, one of two major refiners in the fast-growing Dubai gold market, has begun building a trading team to help it become a "mini-bullion bank" as soon as next year, a top executive said on Sunday.
The refinery, launched in 2004 as a venture between the prominent Al Ghurair family and Pakistan conglomerate Giga Group, is also embarking on a search for mined gold supply in West Africa, balancing out its heavy reliance on recycled gold in Dubai, General Manager Corey Keller told Reuters.
Al Ghurair Giga has already started putting together its trading team internally and hopes to be offering brokerage services by the end of next year, he said.
"We're building a mini-bullion bank within our facility," Keller, who joined the company in January, said on the sidelines of the London Bullion Market Association's annual conference. "We want to generate more income beyond pure refining."
He declined to say how big he expected the trading team to be or when it might be fully in place, but said he expected the group to be a viable competitor to the major global players who currently dominate large-scale spot trade in Dubai.
Global gold trading giants including ScotiaMocatta, the precious metals trading arm of Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia, Britain's HSBC Holdings and South Africa's Standard Bank are already active in the Gulf.
Keller said Al Ghurair Giga Gold, which operates as part of the Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre (DMCC), had no intention of seeking seats on any of the major global gold exchanges or trading in London for now, but saw plenty of scope to grow in a region that has a rich history in the bullion trade.
Dubai has in recent years joined the club of major gold trading centres such as London, New York and Hong Kong thanks to proximity to the world's biggest gold consumer, India, and an aggressive drive to become a regional commodities hub.
It has the highest concentration of jewellery shops in the world, generating trade worth $35 billion last year -- around one-fifth of global jewellery trade.
Entering into the trading sphere will allow Al Ghurair Giga Gold to connect local medium-tier merchants to the global market, and would help drive profits beyond low-margin pure refining.
Processing rates at Al Ghurair Giga Gold leapt this year as surging prices encouraged scrap owners to sell physical supply, giving the refinery ample affordable feedstock.
After running about 15 tonnes in the first quarter and 28 tonnes year to date, Keller said they could hit 50 tonnes by the end of the year if prices accelerated.
After a major upgrade in November-December, the plant will have a capacity of some 1.8 tonnes a day, he said.
"Whether we can fill it up or not is something else."
To help offset the volatile flow of scrap gold supplies, Keller's next focus is trying to develop a regular source of mined gold, with West Africa at the top of the list.
"Mali is the next logical step," he said.
Apart from Emirates Gold, two more refineries are being built in Dubai, one by the gold and jewellery maker ARY Traders and the second by Al Gairth. Both are due to come on stream in 2009.
© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved.
Refinery NameContact NameTelephone NumberEmail AddressRemarks
Al Ghaith Gold DMCCMohamad Hassan El Zubair (04) 341 9662 (04) 341 firstname.lastname@example.orgExpected to shift operations to DMCC area in second quarter 2010
Al Ghurair Giga Gold DMCCCorey Keller (04) 390 4040 (04) 390 4040Corey.Keller@al-ghurair.comDGD status for gold. Operationl since June 2004
Emirates Gold DMCCHilda LimMohamad ShakarchiSameer Kharsa (04) 367 9030 (04) 367 email@example.comDGD status for gold and silver. Operational since November 2004