09 Oct What are the best gold refineries in the UAE?
If you are a gold miner or trader who needs to refine or process gold, finding a high quality, reputable refinery is essential. A number of factors will affect which refinery you choose, from geographical location to the type of gold you wish to produce.
If you have decided to look for the best gold refineries in the United Arab Emirates, then you have some excellent options. The best starting point for judging a refinery in the UAE is the Dubai Good Delivery (DGD) Standard accreditation list maintained by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).
Dubai Good Delivery (DGD) Standard
The DMCC developed the DGD in 2005, and it is now a highly regarded international benchmark for the production of gold. It is also used for accrediting silver production.
As well as judging the purity of a refinery’s output, DGD certification requires gold to be sourced responsibly. This is a serious requirement for accreditation, and in 2015 the Sharjah-based Kaloti refinery was de-listed over concerns about its sourcing.
You can check out the current list of DGD accredited refineries, which includes refineries in the UAE and around the world, including Japan, Switzerland and Turkey. The list also shows which refineries have been de-listed for any reason.
Best gold refineries in the UAE
The DGD list includes three in the UAE: Al Etihad, Emirates Gold and International Precious Metals Refiners (IPMR).
Both the Al Etihad and Emirates refineries are within a few minutes’ drive of each other within the DMCC free zone in Dubai, while IMPR is not far away in the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah.
Emirates Gold refinery has a strong track record
Emirates Gold was founded in 1992 by Mohamad Shakarchi, who is still the managing director. He is a well-known figure in the industry, and his colourful personal history has taken him from his birth in Iraq to his childhood in Lebanon and then later life in Switzerland.
The company process up to 200 tonnes of gold each year, and its Dubai refinery was the first in the Middle East to be listed on the DGD.
Al Etihad is expanding quickly into gold refining
Al Etihad is much younger than Emirates, having been founded in 2009, but it is expanding rapidly and received its DGD accreditation in 2012.
It is able to process scraps of gold and silver, jewellery and even high-grade doré, as well as smelting large amounts of gold to produce bars and grains of various purity levels.
IMPR operates its refinery in Sharjah
IPMR has its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, and its Sharjah refinery, not far from the airport, produces around 300 tonnes of gold each year.
It can process material from mines, as well as industrial scrap, jewellery and electronics.
What makes a good gold refinery?
The two most important factors that determine a refinery’s quality and reputation are the purity of the gold it produces and how reputable it is in sourcing and trading.
Gold purity is measured by a process called assaying, with purity usually expressed as parts per thousand. For example, to receive DGD accreditation a refinery must be able to demonstrate that it can produces a 1kg gold bar which is at least .999 pure gold.
But even refineries which produce high purity must also show they are reputable traders. The DMCC maintains a set of regulations for risk-based due diligence for every refinery, setting out strict rules on how it sources, pays for, transports, records and stores the gold it is processing.
Other refineries close to the UAE
If you are looking for a wider range of accredited refineries then you may need to look beyond the UAE.
However, no other Middle Eastern refineries have either DGD accreditation, or a listing on the equally prestigious Good Delivery list run by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA).
Beyond the Middle East, the next closest option is Turkey, which is home to the Istanbul Gold Refinery and Nadir Metal Refinery, both of which have DGD and LBMA accreditation. A third Turkish refiner, Ahltaci, has DGD accreditation.
Overall, it makes sense to use refineries accredited by the DGD and LBMA because you will have peace of mind that they are reputable and high quality in their output. These lists are updated regularly, with annual renewal on the DGD and three-yearly on the LBMA.
Marcus Briggs, of Icon Gold and Citi Group, is a highly successful entrepreneur and senior executive in the gold markets in the UAE, Africa and South America. Here he shares his knowledge and expertise on gold trading and investing.