Top gold refiner exits Swiss industry group over sourcing fight

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Valcambi SA has resigned from the Swiss gold refining association after a disagreement over where it sources its gold.

Ticino-based Valcambi left the Swiss Association of Precious Metal Manufacturers and Traders, which coordinates communication and lobbying on behalf of the industry and requires members to sign a code of conduct, due to “irreconcilable differences,” the association said in a statement.

Valcambi confirmed its departure in a statement on Friday, which indicated the disagreement related to the origin of its gold supplies. Sourcing and supply chains have become a key focus in the gold market, given the difficulty in determining the origin of metal which often exists outside the banking sector and can be remelted countless times.

The world’s top precious metals refinery has faced scrutiny in recent years from local media and non-governmental organizations for sourcing gold from the United Arab Emirates, where opaque supply chains can make it difficult to determine whether the metal has been responsibly sourced. Other large Swiss refineries have stated policies against purchasing gold from the UAE.

“Valcambi doesn’t agree on the position of some members of the ASFCMP’s board to exclude certain countries of origin,” the company said in the statement. “Pretending gold from dubious origin will not enter in the Swiss market by excluding direct supplies from specific countries is not the correct approach.”

Valcambi is accredited by the London Bullion Market Association, widely viewed as a global authority on precious metals. Maintaining the accreditation requires the refiner to undergo annual audits that attest it complies with responsible sourcing standards designed to prevent gold tainted by conflict, money laundering and environmental abuses entering the supply chain.

“What is needed is an adequate risk management, implementing an enhanced due diligence with sophisticated due diligence tools,” Valcambi said in its statement. “Valcambi has received a confirmation of the appropriateness of its due diligence tools and protocols in all its audits.”

(By Eddie Spence)


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