Africa

Uganda launches gold refinery, amid fears of dirty minerals

A gold refinery primarily owned by a Belgian investor has been launched in Uganda amid concerns about the source of its minerals.

The African Gold Refinery, worth $15 million and the first of its kind in East Africa, has drawn the attention of activists who are concerned that dirty minerals from conflict-prone countries in the region will be among its raw materials.

The refinery has been operating since 2014, but was officially inaugurated Monday at a ceremony attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

The value of gold exports from Uganda has been rising in recent years, though not much is mined locally.

George Boden of Global Witness said at least some of Uganda's gold exports are likely to be from Congo and South Sudan, raising concerns about conflict minerals.