Wednesday, July 01, 2009
The Royal Canadian Mint is missing about C$18.8 million ($16.2 million) worth of gold and has not ruled out theft even as it continues to try to solve the mystery, according to an official on Tuesday.
An independent review by of the Mint's records found a discrepancy of 17,500 troy ounces of gold -- worth about C$18.8 million at current prices -- between the Mint's accounting and its physical count of precious metal done at the end of 2008.
The Mint refines 5.4 million troy ounces of gold a year, turning raw metal and scrap jewelry into 400-ounce bars.
The bars that the Mint makes out of scrap gold weigh about 27.5 pounds (12.5 kilos). It's a bit heavy to sneak out under a skirt or coat. And you'd have to take out 44 such bars for a theft that large. Mint officials say they had a lot of gold come in when prices rose above US$1000 an ounce. Hard to believe they'd end up with an explanation "we were swamped."
The mint's management has been told by government it will not get any bonuses until they find the gold. That should be reassuring. Wouldn't firing someone be the normal thing?