The subject of my first blog article is a bit of an introduction to the organisation which I run. For those who are familiar with The Perth Mint and its products this is not so much for you – but I am sure that there are many people for which this might be of interest.
Ed Harbuz, Perth Mint CEO.
I do not intend to dwell on our history too much as there is a fair amount of information on the corporate website. Suffice it to say that we were founded in 1899 as a branch of the Royal Mint to refine gold from the then recently discovered Western Australian gold fields, and use some of it to mint sovereigns – gold coins that were used as circulating currency in the British Empire.
In 1970 the Western Australian Government took ownership of the Mint and in 1986 Gold Corporation, the government-owned entity which now operates The Perth Mint was formed. In the same year, we issued the first Australian bullion gold coin and we remain, to this day, the official and only issuer of Australia’s bullion coins, which have a world wide market share of (very approximately because it varies from year-to-year) 10%.
Our whole business revolves around gold and silver. Our refinery processes nearly all of the gold produced in Australia, currently the world’s second biggest gold producer. It also refines gold from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, other surrounding countries, quantities of scrap gold and a fair amount of silver. The gold and silver is used in our bullion and numismatic coins, supplied to our Depository, sold to markets where it is required in bars of various sizes and the rest is shipped to London as London Good Delivery bars.
One Stop Shop
So, for people wanting to invest in gold or silver, or wishing to have exposure to precious metal prices for any reason, we are something of a “one stop shop”. We can supply bullion coins, minted bars or cast refinery bars. Customers can take possession of these or leave them with us in our Depository and pay a small storage charge.
They can buy unallocated metal in our Depository, which we physically keep in our vaults, at the Mint or the refinery and, because we use some of it in our processes, we do not charge for storage. Some of this metal has to be kept in bullion banks in London so we can sell metal immediately when customers wish to do so.
Listed Gold Fund
We even have a gold fund listed on the Australian Stock Exchange called Perth Mint Gold (ASX code: ZAUWBA) for customers wanting the convenience of a listed product.
Our business is international – more than 90% of our turnover is from exports and we do business in most parts of the world, supported by a network of agents, distributors, dealers and other business partners.
Numismatic coins are a fun part of our business – they are little works of art and ours are distributed worldwide. We issue Australian numismatic, collector or commemorative coins (these terms are used somewhat interchangeably) and those of some other countries. We love new ideas and innovations, as a quick look through our numismatic website might indicate.
For those of you able to get to Perth, you are always welcome to visit us. Our visitor experience includes a shop selling not only our coins and bars, but a range of jewellery and other interesting products. Visitors can then take a guided tour of the exhibition in which they get a taste of our colourful history and witness the pouring of a 200 ounce gold bar in the original melt house where gold was actually refined between 1899 and 1990.
So, that’s us – an integrated precious metals business with varied and complementary activities. In future blogs I shall tell you more about various parts of our business and talk about some exciting new developments.
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