The Perth Mint Has Recast This Gold Bar More Than 65,000 Times

(Bloomberg Markets) -- Seven times a day, the Perth Mint hosts a public gold pour at its downtown location in the Western Australian city. A 14-pound gold bar is melted at 1,945F (1,063C) in a crucible made of clay and graphite. The liquid is then poured into a cast-iron mold, where it hardens into a bar in about 90 seconds. It needs an additional 15 seconds from the time it’s placed in a quenching tank filled with tap water until the bar is “cool to the touch,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Hayes says.

The Perth Mint Has Recast This Gold Bar More Than 65,000 Times

The same gold bar has been melted and cast more than 65,000 times since the mint opened its doors to visitors in 1993, Hayes says. In that time, it has been worth as little as $51,000—in 1999—to as much as $390,000—in 2011. At a price of $1,310 an ounce on Feb. 14 the bar was worth about $267,000. At the end of each day, it’s stored in one of the mint’s vaults.

The Perth Mint Has Recast This Gold Bar More Than 65,000 Times

Australia is the world’s second-largest producer of gold (after China), and the Perth Mint refines about 90 percent of the country’s production at a separate secured facility outside the city center. It mints coins and bars from both Australian gold and metal sourced from other countries, representing about 13 percent of global production, Hayes says.

The Perth Mint opened in 1899 after the discovery of rich mineral deposits caused a gold rush in the region. Owned by the government of Western Australia since 1970, the mint sold about A$18.9 billion ($13.3 billion) in pure gold, silver, and platinum bullion bars and coins in 2018.

The Perth Mint Has Recast This Gold Bar More Than 65,000 Times

For more details on the supply and demand of gold, run {BI PMET GO} on the Bloomberg terminal for the Bloomberg Intelligence dashboard on precious metals.

Barton is a commodities reporter in New York.

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