Perth Mint, Australia’s official bullion mint, currently faces a $9 billion recall from China for allegedly selling “doped” bullion and attempting to cover it up, as reported by Australia’s ABC News. The practice of doping gold involves adding impure ore like silver to the mix to cut costs and lower the quality of gold. Reportedly, Perth Mint started diluting the gold it issues in 2018. The report covered by ABC states that some refinery staff identified more impure ores being added than what’s allowed by the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE).
Allegations of Gold Dilution and Cover-Up at Perth Mint
Perth Mint is in the spotlight this week due to a report by Australia’s ABC News correspondents Angus Grigg, Ali Russell, Stephanie Zillman, and Meghna Bali, accusing Australia’s official bullion mint of diluting or “doping” gold.
The journalists discovered a leaked internal report, and according to the report, the mint faces a $9 billion recall from China over allegations of doping gold. The process keeps the gold at just within the 99.99% purity stage, but reportedly, different ores like copper and silver were added in 2018.
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According to the internal report, when 100 tons of gold bars were delivered to SGE, the bullion did not meet Shanghai’s standards, and higher levels of silver were identified. A Perth Mint insider, speaking with ABC under the condition of anonymity, described the issue as a “scandal of the highest level.”
The doping was allegedly done to save $620,000 a year, but refinery insiders noted that despite attempting to stay within the 99.99% purity standard, some ore levels exceeded what the SGE would allow. The ABC report states that the scandal began to come to light in 2021 when SGE alleged that two gold bars were not up to par.
“Based on average understandings of volumes … it was possible for up to 100 tonnes of stock to be recalled from the Shanghai Gold Exchange for replacement,” explains the internal report uncovered by ABC.
Additionally, the SGE’s exchange client allegedly kept quiet about the doping issue, and the internal report from Perth Mint stated that if the client revealed the issue publicly, “the impact of negative public statements on the business could be very significant.”
ABC reports that Perth Mint confirmed a customer complaint about a small number of gold bars and stated that it has improved refining methods and is now committed to much higher purity requirements.
The Perth Mint also issues a gold-backed token known as the Perth Mint Gold Token (PMGT), and each coin is backed by a 1-ounce Goldpass certificate that entitles the owner to 1 ounce of physical gold in the Perth Mint reserve.
There is a circulating supply of 1,207 PMGT today, and 253 unique Ethereum-based addresses hold PMGT. Interestingly, PMGT is selling for lower values on March 7, 2023, down 0.8%, while competitor gold tokens such as XAUT and PAXG are selling for higher values on Tuesday.
What are your thoughts on the reported Perth Mint gold doping scandal and the impact it could have on the bullion issuer? Share your views in the comments section below.
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