Perth Mint faces London bullion body review over gold 'doping' charges
(Reuters) - The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), the world's top accreditor of gold refiners, said on Thursday it was reviewing allegations that Perth Mint had sold "doped" gold to China.
An Australian media report on Monday said Perth Mint, the world's largest processor of newly mined gold, may have to recall a potential $9 billion worth of diluted or "doped" one- kilogram gold bars sold to top consumer China.
The Australian gold refiner, a member of the LBMA, rejected those allegations on Tuesday, saying there was no question about the value and purity of gold bars it had sold to customers in China, after it implemented new procedures following a 2021 review of its refining practices.
"Doping" or "alloying" is an industry wide accepted practice to minimise the amount of pure gold above the 99.99% purity level in each bar.
The LBMA said its incident review process (IRP) had been invoked and "any incident or issues that may impact the credibility of the Good Delivery List and the wholesale precious metals market are treated very seriously."
The London bullion body said Perth Mint currently remains on its 'Good Delivery List', which includes accredited refiners whose bars meet its standards for global trade.
Addressing the review, Perth Mint said it was "constantly identifying areas for improvement in the business, including addressing historical practices," and described the industry body as a long-term partner.
The Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) backed Perth Mint on Wednesday in denying that the Australian processor had sold it "doped" gold bars.
As per the association's IRP, if it finds that Perth Mint failed to meet its standards, disciplinary action could include "membership revocation, suspension subject to resolution or being transferred to the Former List with immediate effect."
The LBMA did not commit to a timeline on the same.
(Reporting by Deep Vakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy)