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Rand Refinery – Africa’s Gold Standard

By Praveen Baijnath, Chief Executive, Rand Refinery

Published on September 8, 2020
A refinery worker heating up the crucible before pouring granules.

Rand Refinery, a single-site precious metals refining and smelting complex is a South African heritage asset with a rich history spanning 100 years. Over this period, it has remained integral to the gold value chain in South Africa and on the continent.

A partner to some of the world’s biggest bullion banks and gold mines, Rand Refinery’s impact and influence are not limited to its wide range of products, but the role it plays in setting standards for the industry.

As an independent private refinery, Rand Refinery is held by shareholders drawn from across the South African gold mining industry, placing it in a unique forward integrated position with respect to sourcing from shareholder mines. The structure allows us to secure a majority of its dore supply from established listed mines and maintain its operational integrity. We also enjoy the full support of two of the largest gold mining houses in the world.

These integrated attributes enhance Rand Refinery’s responsible sourcing practices, well embedded into its organisational DNA over many decades.

A variety of gold granules produced by Rand Refinery.

Despite the decline in South African gold production, Rand Refinery offers one of the best opportunities for South Africa, and indeed Africa, to maximise the value return of its finite reserves. One of five global LBMA referees, the refinery’s capabilities in sampling, assaying, smelting and refining are among the best in the world. The refinery also boasts of one of the fastest out-turn times in the industry supporting shareholders and depositing mines.

As an integrated complex, Rand Refinery not only treats mine dore and calcined cathode sludge, but also various types of gold-bearing concentrate and mining by-products (e.g. carbons, flue dusts and borax slags). The refinery and smelter delivers solutions that meet the requirements of mining houses concerning high-grade dore and low-grade mine waste products that are beneficiated.

Over the past 25 years, Rand Refinery has become a major supplier of kilobars into the world markets in direct response to changing demand patterns. Rand Refinery produces, amongst others, a portfolio of well-respected products like the Kilo 9999 and Kilo 9950 bars, 1-ounce minted bars and 100g cast bars, 9999 granules (packed in 100 ounce bottles) and 22ct and 24ct coin blanks for national mints.

The automated manufacturing process of Rand Refinery’s London Good Delivery bar.

All our products are widely accepted and used across the Far and Middle East, the Indian sub-continent, China, Europe and North America.

Rand Refinery is a leading voice on transparency and responsible gold supply chains on the continent. Our sourcing procedures are independently audited, and suppliers are subject to a performance audit across multiple metrics. Furthermore, we have a detailed understanding of the mines that make up most of its supply and has a fingerprint of its deposits.

The rigour of production standards is equalled by the stringency of our sourcing protocols, which are implemented at every level of the operation. Rand Refinery is committed to internationally accepted responsible sourcing practices and as such, is in conformance with the LBMA Responsible Gold & Silver Guidance and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.

Rand Refinery’s certified gold and silver chain-of-custody are independently audited to meet the requirements set by relevant industry bodies. All companies that deal with us are subject to strict know-your-customer (KYC) and know-your-product (KYP) processes to ensure adherence to the responsible gold guidance principles that we subscribe to and maintain.

Value-added products produced by Rand Refinery are used globally in jewellery fabrication, investment products and industrial goods. The consumers of these products are guaranteed that gold in their purchases is responsibly sourced and where required, can be traced back to the mines.

Melting of anodes at Rand Refinery.

Rand Refinery also provides a secure vault for shipments, as well as security and logistics experts who help International Depositors in optimising their cargo transport spend (consolidated shipments, optimal routing, minimal storage time, etc.).

Beyond the market qualifiers of price and speed, Rand Refinery firmly believes in partnership and enduring trust. We remain passionate about our best-in-class assaying capabilities built over a century and the global reputation our refinery enjoys as a consequence.

No other refinery in Africa is registered to produce LBMA Good Delivery products. Meeting LBMA specifications in terms of purity, fabrication, and assay can be challenging and some African refineries whose sourcing practices are LBMA-compliant and meet our stringent criteria, do trade with us, ensuring maximum beneficiation of African gold in Africa.

The unfortunate spread of Covid-19 globally and in South Africa had resulted in a temporary closure of some businesses. Enabled by our robust protocols put in place to mitigate risks to business continuity and most importantly employees, Rand Refinery has been able to keep its operations going during this period. These measures have placed Rand Refinery in a good position to meet market demand and affords us the luxury of having product available at shorter lead times.

PRAVEEN BAIJNATH is a chemical engineer with 29 years’ experience in minerals beneficiation and the chemical process industry. He was appointed Chief Executive of Rand Refinery in 2015, and is an Executive Director on the Rand Refinery Board. His other board directorships include Prestige Bullion and the Ekurhuleni Jewellery Project. He was previously Group CEO of Delta EMD and remains on its board as a non-independent, non-executive director. He also served as CEO of Gold Reef Speciality Chemicals, as well as a director on the Operational Board of Frame Textile Group.