After many years of trying and a number of false starts, gold and silver produced in Waihi is now available for purchase in Waihi, thanks to a partnership between Waihihi Bullion Company and Newmont Waihi Gold.
All gold and silver bullion produced from Newmont’s gold mines in Waihi is shipped to the Perth Mint as dore bars for refining. It is not possible to refine the gold and silver produced in Waihi to the required purity in New Zealand.
Up until now it has also not been possible to separate Waihi’s gold or silver at the Perth Mint from batches produced by other miners. Baz Howie of the Waihihi Bullion Company has been working closely with the Perth Mint which can now separate out the precious metal produced from Waihi as anode bars before it is mixed with other product. Once refined, it is then shipped back to Waihi as one ounce gold and 10 ounce silver ingots.
Newmont Waihi Gold provides Waihihi Bullion Company with information about the shipment number once the ingots are back in Waihi. The Bullion Company can then provide consumers with information about when the gold or silver was poured, and where it came from.
Newmont Waihi Gold external affairs coordinator Kit Wilson says this chain of custody is important.
“More and more consumers are demanding to know the source of goods they are purchasing. Gold and silver are no different. We have all heard of ‘Fair Trade’, ‘Fair Mined’ is also being used a lot more now.”
Wilson describes Waihi’s gold as ‘ethical gold’.
“We have a traceable and externally verifiable supply chain. Gold and silver production at Waihi meets the international criteria for ethical gold production. This includes labour laws, cultural training, closure plans, and community engagement.
“This means that if a consumer purchases a Waihi gold or silver ingot from the Waihihi Bullion Company or the Gold Discovery Centre, or a piece of jewellery from an accredited manufacturing jeweller who is using Waihi’s gold and silver, they know exactly where it came from; and that it wasn’t mined using questionable techniques, using child labour or destructive environmental practices, or in a conflict zone.”
Both one ounce gold and 10 ounce silver ingots are available for purchase. Baz Howie is quick to point out that only very small stocks are held in Waihi, so advance orders are required. He says that the gold and silver is delivered in small increments to address any security issues around delivering or storing the ingots, and only very small amounts of gold and silver are kept in Waihi.
“The Waihihi Bullion Company came to Waihi Gold with a well thought out and robust business plan. They knew exactly what in kind assistance they required from Newmont and had clearly set out how we could be of practical support.”
He says that Newmont’s role in bringing Waihi’s gold ‘back home’ has been to support Baz as he has worked through the practicalities and paperwork involved in purchasing local gold and silver from Perth Mint.
“This is not common practice for Newmont, and required assistance and advice from our Regional Office in Perth. It has taken several years to get to this point. Others have tried, but thanks to Baz’s patience and business skills he has been able to bring the project to fruition.”
Because it is local doesn’t mean it comes cheap – $2116.45 for a Troy ounce of gold.
More information: www.wbcltd.co.nz.