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The African Gold Zone

Friday, October 06, 2000
The establishment of Africa’s first internationally competitive gold jewellery manufacturing facility – The African Gold Zone – on Rand Refinery property near Johannesburg was announced at a function on site today. Alec Erwin, the Minister of Trade and Industry and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Minister of Minerals and Energy were the guest speakers.

The site is able to accommodate a total of 23 500 square metres of manufacturing capacity at a cost of around R65 million. The first phase of the construction is under way with the building of a 3 600 square metre factory for Johannesburg-based Alan Mair Manufacturing Jewellers, who will be the centre’s anchor tenant.

The Zone will ultimately house a number of manufacturing businesses of different sizes, a hive for independent craftsmen and a training facility. The complex allows for considerable diversity and potential occupants will have the scope to work together with the developers to give their premises a distinctive look.

Rand Refinery, AngloGold and the Spatial Development Initiative Programme (SDI) of the Department of Trade and Industry are all involved in the development. The facility hopes to qualify as an Industrial Development Zone targeting export markets. Rand Refinery has provided the land; AngloGold will fund the training facility; while the SDI will help to create awareness of the venture and to encourage participation from local and foreign jewellery manufacturers.

“The high security infrastructure, low insurance rates and beneficial financing options make The African Gold Zone an attractive place to set up jewellery manufacturing businesses,” said the managing director of Rand Refinery, Paul Streng. “Certain Italian companies have already expressed interest in the facility.”

Other advantages include:

- Accommodation in a high quality building in a park-like environment; - Highly competitive rentals; - Long-term leases obtainable; - On-site training; - Availability of refined gold on one’s doorstep; - Access to caratage alloys; - Gold loan finance opportunities; - Assay facilities on hand; - Ample secure parking; - Secure transport (by road or by air) to Johannesburg International Airport which is twenty minutes’ drive away; and - Use of Rand Refinery’s high security vault facilities at the airport.

“The African Gold Zone will provide the critical economic infrastructure for a new stage in development and growth for the South African gold jewellery industry. We would also like to see it becoming a focal point for the training of disadvantaged people and the development of small gold manufacturing businesses,” commented Kelvin Williams, AngloGold’s executive marketing director and chairman of Rand Refinery.

“AngloGold’s sponsorship of The African Gold Zone’s training facility forms part of its support for a number of grass roots jewellery training projects such as Vukani-Ubuntu in Pretoria,” he added.

The goal of the founders of The African Gold zone is that it will become a central point for the export and promotion of beneficiated and branded African precious metals and stones. The subsidies and economies offered by a co-operative venture like the African Gold Zone will make it possible for the South African jewellery manufacturing industry to grow and to become globally competitive.

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