Perth Mint Accused Of Selling Diluted Gold To China

May have to recall billions of gold

Article heading image for Perth Mint Accused Of Selling Diluted Gold To China

Getty Images

The Perth Mint may be forced to recall $9 billion of gold bars after being accused of selling diluted or “doped” bullion to China.

ABC’s Four Corners aired internal documents which alleges the Western Australia State Government-owned institute began diluting gold to sell to China in 2018.

Stay up-to-date on the latest news with The Western Australia Briefing - keeping you in the loop with news as it hits:

The report estimated up to 100 tonnes of gold exported to Shanghai Gold Exchange may not have met the city’s strict purity standards for silver content.

Diluting gold involves lowering the quality of bullions by adding impurities such as silver and copper.

A Perth Mint insider, who was not named for fear of a potential five-year jail term for speaking out, described it as a “scandal of the highest level”.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one this big,” the source said.

While gold diluting is a minorly accepted practice and is not illegal, it is high in risk as it lowers the quality of bullion.

Traces of metals are allowed but the report alleges Perth Mint’s plan was to keep just within the acceptable industry standard of 99.99 per cent purity.

Perth Mint was expected to save just $620,000 a year.

The SGE came forward in 2021 complaining two gold bars were non-compliant with its specifications and contained too much silver.

The Mint ordered an internal investigation that day and the report of that investigation obtained by Four Corners, revealed the level of reputational damage the Mint feared if the SGE went public.

“If SGE – Gold Corporation’s pre-eminent exchange client – had made public that they had issues with Gold Corporation bars … the impact of negative public statements on the business could be very significant,” the internal report said.

The entire Four Corners episode can be watched here.

Subscribe to The Briefing, Australia's fastest-growing news podcast on Listnr today. The Briefing serves up the latest news headlines and a deep dive into a topic affecting you. All in under 20 minutes.

7 March 2023

Listen Live!

Up Next