Mon, July 22, 2024

Swiss Valcambi suspected of acquiring gold of dubious origin

Swiss Valcambi suspected of acquiring gold of dubious origin

Valcambi, one of the largest gold refiners in the world, has worked with a supplier suspected of acquiring precious metals from Sudan. Global Witness, an international NGO that reported the news, urges the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) to examine producers more closely.

Global Witness claims the Swiss refinery Valcambi bought large quantities of gold from the Dubai-based Kaloti Precious Metals Group. As a result, it was at risk of having bought illegal exports of Sudanese gold. 

The origin of some of that gold, according to the report, is African artisanal miners and the Dubai gold market. In 2018, half of the gold passing through Dubai came from the African continent. Much of it was illegal export and originated in conflict-affected areas. These could be the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Darfur region of Sudan.

Emirati companies that process gold have no direct links with Swiss refineries. This makes it difficult to trace the origin of the metal. It also ensures that it is mined under conditions that respect human rights and the environment, the report warns.

Valcambi declined to comment immediately on the Global Witness report. However, it questioned the findings. Kaloti, for its part, denied the allegations. The refinery commented that it undergoes an independent audit every year. According to Kaloti, they have not identified conflict material from any jurisdiction, including Sudan, in its supply chains. Furthermore, Kaloti has never sent any gold supply from Sudan to any Swiss refinery.

 

There are gaps in the LBMA’s sourcing standards

Valcambi said last month that he pledged to adopt a new system to increase transparency in his precious metal sourcing process.

Based on blockchain technology, the system will require potential refiner gold suppliers to upload all due diligence information, including data and documents into a database. Then it will then be accessible to all appropriate audit parties.

In its report, Global Witness also said there are gaps in the LBMA’s sourcing standards that generally do not require refineries to disclose to their suppliers. A Bern-based non-governmental organization, SWISSAID, then joined the criticism of current LMBA standards. It urged them to be much more accurate in scrutinizing supplies from its member refineries.

The LBMA said that they designed its responsible sourcing program to be a holistic process that involves all stakeholders, and the association cannot address the problem alone. The global authority of the precious metals stated that more needs to be done.

Meanwhile, gold prices are trending upward, heading to a record high since 2011.

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