Dubai-based Kaloti Group, one of the world's largest gold and precious metals refiners and trading houses, has teamed up with a South American country to build its first gold smelting plant.
The company says it will invest about US$20 million in a joint venture with local gold traders and the government of Suriname, a tiny nation in north-east South America that has only relatively recently discovered its wealth of gold.
Construction of the precious metals refinery and bullion manufacturing plant, which will be the first in the country, already has started and refining is expected to begin by the middle of 2014.
Production is forecast to reach 60 tonnes of refined gold by the time the smelter is fully operational in 2016.
To be called Kaloti Suriname Mint House, the refinery will also process gold from the Guyana Shield and the Caribbean and focus on melting and producing gold bars.
Suriname currently produces an average of 40 tonnes of gold a year but expects about US$2.5 billion to be invested in gold projects by Canadian and US companies in the next few years, with the precious metal becoming a significant contributor to its economy.
Kaloti Group has investments across the board, from the production of gold from its raw form through to final production of jewellery, ornaments and bullion bars.
"We are pleased to have been handpicked by Suriname's government to construct its first gold and precious metals refinery and mint house as they push ahead with their efforts of regulating, monitoring and modernising the country's gold and precious metals sector," Kaloti chairman Munir Kaloti said in a statement.