Gold firm to make Tolkien ring

South African gold miner Harmony is to make copies of the gold ring at the center of the tale of the Lord of the Rings, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported.

Harmony has secured the exclusive marketing rights for the ring for the South African market and hopes to secure similar rights for the rest of the world, BBC reported. Hope is that the ring-similar to the other lucrative contracts and marketing initiatives linked to Lord of the Rings and similarly Harry Potter-will boost demand for gold and profitability in the sector.

The ring will be sold at a price of between $125 and $500, the company told the BBC.

Gold producers have seen their profits squeezed, in part because of falling demand for luxury goods in times of economic slowdown.

The falling price of gold-now below $280 an ounce compared with a high of $850 an ounce in 1980-has also been a factor.

Demand for jewelry, which accounts for between 75% and 80% of world gold demand, usually falls in times of slowdown.

“We have always been looking for opportunities to position gold, our product, the company in a positive light. We thought this would be the ideal opportunity for the company to get involved,” Harmony’s marketing director Ferdi Dippenaar told the BBC’s World Business Report.

“It has inscribed on the inside and on the outside, lets call it the famous Elven inscription from the Lord of the Rings,” he said.

This reads: “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”

The launch of the ring will precede a separate gold marketing initiative, which is expected to kick off a $200m advertising campaign next year.

Harmony is the sixth largest and one of the lowest cost gold producers in the world. Operational assets include eleven production units in the Free State, the Evander Gold Mine in Mpumulanga and Kalgold in North West Province, all in South Africa, and the Bissett Mine in Manitoba, Canada. The company currently produces approximately 1.4 million ounces of unhedged gold per annum at a total cost of US$ 242 per ounce. Harmony adds value to its gold products by refining and marketing it themselves.