Traders also seem keenly aware of India's wedding season, which begins next week and continues until May, and is considered the most lucrative time of the year for the gold trade as families purchase gold jewelry to mark weddings and other auspicious occasions.US produced less gold and silver in 2012 Production of gold and silver in the United States was down last year even though the total value of minerals produced in the US was up for the third year in a row, according to stats from the US Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS reported the value of all minerals produced at $76.5 billion in 2012 versus $74.8 billion in 2011, with gold, copper and aggregates comprising the top three sectors. However, US mines only produced 230 tons of gold last year, compared to 234 in 2011, and 1,050 tons of silver, versus 1,120 tons in the prior year. Ghana starts refining gold, China to offer ETFs Two countries reached milestones this week in the way they handle or vend gold. Ghana, Africa's second-largest gold producer, will begin refining gold for the first time since mining began in the country over 100 years ago, Bloomberg reported, beginning with state-owned Precious Minerals Marketing. The country is aiming to add domestic value to its natural resources, most of which are exported unprocessed. The Chinese government took another step toward encouraging its citizens to buy gold by introducing rules for the operation of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), China Daily reported. While no timetable for the introduction of ETFs was announced, the move is "part of government efforts to boost the development of both the gold market and the capital market," the article states. Gold Investing News reported last week that commodity ETFs were dominated by gold in 2012, with assets in gold ETFs totalling $146.6 billion — and representing the lion's share of the $199.8 billion under management in commodity ETFs.