Saudi Arabia the top oil exporter will have the world’s largest gold factory at the end of 2011, a Saudi Arabian newspaper reported.
"The factory will become a reality by the end of this year," Essam A. Aziz Sultani al-Ashrafi, chief executive officer of Taiba for Gold & Jewels Co. Ltd., told Arab News.
The factory is probable to employ around 500-800 workers, and will help young Saudis to find jobs, al-Ashrafi said, adding that the project is his company’s brainchild.
The factory is at present under construction in Jeddah’s Industrial Estate-II, and covers an area of 22,000 square meters.
"Factories here are able to produce high-quality products because of the high excellence of technology that they employ," Al-Ashrafi said. "Gold is part of local culture and customs, particularly at weddings. It's revered as being majestic, having timeless value, and is worthy of respect and saving."
Saudi Arabia, the top Arab holder of gold reserves, is now the 16th largest gold holder. The oil-rich country is also the world's fourth largest holder of foreign exchange reserves, and has doubled its gold reserves to 323 tons.