Kazakhstan plans to begin construction of a third gold refinery next year to process an expected increase in volumes of the precious metal, the country's Industry Ministry said on Monday.
State miner Tau-Ken Samruk will run the refinery, which will have capacity to produce 25 tonnes of bullion per year and could cost up to $30 million to build, the ministry's committee of industry told Reuters in a written reply to questions.
Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest economy, has ambitious plans to raise annual gold output to 70 tonnes or more by 2015. It produced 27.5 tonnes of gold in the first nine months of 2011, including 12.5 tonnes of refined gold, official data show.
The central bank has committed to augment its gold reserves and ease exposure to the dollar by purchasing Kazakhstan's entire bullion output from next year until at least 2014 or 2015.
There are currently two gold refineries in Kazakhstan. One, operated by Glencore-owned miner Kazzinc, refines ingot to international standards. Copper miner Kazakhmys refines gold to meet Kazakhstan's domestic standards.
The committee said that Tau-Ken Samruk, the mining arm of sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna, was planning an investment programme to build the refinery and supply all of the necessary raw materials.