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Major Swiss refiner 'cannot cope' with demand to buy gold

Workers at a smelter in Switzerland are struggling to work fast enough to meet demand from nervy investors who want to buy gold, Reuters reported on Wednesday (December 17th).

Argor-Heraues refinery, situated near Lake Lugano in the Alps, is running around the clock as people increasingly look to invest in the precious metal for its safe-haven qualities.

Bernhard Schnellmann, Director of Precious Metal Services for the refiner - which is one of the three largest in the world - explained that the current level of demand is unprecedented.

He told the news provider: "I have been in the gold business for 30 years and I have never experienced anything like this.

"Production has dramatically increased since the middle of the year. We cannot cope with demand."

Although Switzerland is not a major player in the mining industry, it plays host to some of the world's largest refineries, which are thought to process around 40 percent of all recently-mined gold.

Just last week, Matt Zeman, head trader at LaSalle Futures, expressed his belief that investors are buying gold as fears over the current financial turmoil are persisting.

"In terms of gold, I think that with [interest] rates as low as they are and another cut coming...inflationary fears are starting to come back into investors' minds," he said.

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