Lower duty on raw gold shipment makes it lucrative for private players as refining process costs less
To meet its growing demand for gold dore bars, India has increased its buying from Latin American countries. Private players refine raw gold in facilities dedicated to the process as it costs less. There has been a big jump in buying doré bars from countries like Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Ecuador, Guyana, Colombia, Honduras and Nicaragua in 2015-16 and 2016-17 as the gold importers are capitalising on the differential in import duties to bring the yellow metal into the country cheaply. A senior MMTC officer, speaking to FE on condition of anonymity, said, “These countries are now encouraging gold exports to fuel their economic growth. Gold is a non conflicting metal and is available in abundant quantities in these countries.” “While gold mining is very expensive, the private players play a crucial role as they buy raw gold through Dubai exchange which has preferential treaties with a lot of these countries,” the MMTC official added.
Speaking to FE, Bolivian ambassador to India Sergio Arispe Barrientos said, “We are exporting raw gold to India and it represents 99% of the trade. The bilateral trade between the two countries jumped from $122 milion in 2016 to $548 million in 2017.” Peru is the largest gold-producing nation in Latin America and the sixth in the world, yielding 151 tonne in 2017, according to private-run National Society of Mining, Oil, and Energy (SNMPE).
The country has increased its shipments of the precious metal to India and has exceeded the $270-million mark of 2016. According to Jorge Castaneda, Peruvian Ambassador to India, “The time was ripe for India to invest in the mining sector in Peru given the current and future needs of this country for non-ferrous metals, the shortening of the exploration lifetime world-wide, China’s lead in investment in Peru at $10.1 billion (against $ 30 million by India) and the openness of the sector for India.”
He was speaking at the conference on ‘Landscape for Non-Ferrous Metals in India: Vision 2030’, organised by the industry body FICCI, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Gold dore bar in unwrought form is the most demanded gold product that India imports majorly.
Indian private players are keen to buy gold doré bar, and refine in India at new facilities dedicated to the refining of doré — a semi-pure alloy of gold and silver gold as that is cheaper. Refined gold is subject to a 10% import duty in India as opposed to 8% on gold doré, and the cost of refining is cheaper at approximately $1-2.