Aurex begins gold jewellery exports

Aurex begins gold jewellery exports
Locally, demand for gold is very low due to low disposable incomes. You will notice that people spend more on food and less on jewellery.

Locally, demand for gold is very low due to low disposable incomes. You will notice that people spend more on food and less on jewellery.

THE central bank’s jewellery making subsidiary, Aurex Jewellery (Aurex), has started exporting gold chains and bangles to Dubai and is planning to extend its market to America.
Aurex general manager, Pasipaipa Munhumutema, last week told The Financial Gazette: “We have made in-roads with the Dubai market through agents for gold necklaces and bangles. There has also been interest from South African jewellers as well. We used to supply the American market and are looking at doing this once more, but as a Zimbabwean company we will only be able to do this through agents.”
Once one of Africa’s leading gold and silver jewellery manufacturers, Aurex commenced operations in 1992 and employed over 150 workers before its operations were mothballed in 2006.
Its plant, a high security facility covering 4 000 square metres, is located in Ruwa, 25km east of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.
The firm’s recent resuscitation is in line with the central bank’s move to capitalise some of its strategic non-core businesses.
Aurex which used to produce about three tonnes of gold jewellery per year at its peak — has been in a re-tooling drive to ramp capacity with the objective of supplying into regional and international markets.
“We were recently in Zambia showcasing our products and made promising contacts. We will also be in Mozambique to do the same next month. Our aim is to establish ourselves with the regional markets as well,” Munhumutema said.
He pointed out that while most of the firm’s products were being sold locally, sales remained low due to the country’s economic problems.
“Locally, demand for gold is very low due to low disposable incomes. You will notice that people spend more on food and less on jewellery. However, bridal jewellery has been doing well. So we keep pushing this line into the market. Besides, the Zimbabwean population is also low so this affects the number of sales.
“Ideally, we should be supplying markets with better economies where people have an appetite to spend on luxury, so that is why we are working with agents to gain access to these markets,” he said.
The company  which traditionally did not have local retail shops save for a duty-free outlet at the airport – has since set up two shops in the capital, one each in Victoria Falls, Mutare, Bulawayo and another at its factory site to drive sales, while waiting for more export markets to open.
Munhumutema said the firm was well capacitated to meet bulk orders.
“The installed capacity is there and we have equipment so we have just been re-tooling. We have also been in talks trying to push our manufacturing capacity in an arrangement that will see us making jewellery for clients using their brands. This way, we will manage to establish ourselves as a leading manufacturer,” he said. Aurex used to process a substantial tonnage of gold and silver into different original handmade and machine manufactured jewellery products.
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