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Did the Royal Canadian Mint Get Ripped Off for $13.2 Million?

Written By Luke Burgess

Posted June 30, 2009


The Royal Canadian Mint, which has been touted as one of the most secure facilities in Canada, may have been the victim of a $13.2 million (CDN$15.3 million) gold heist, an audit concluded Monday.

The mint called in external auditors last month to investigate a significant discrepancy between the mint’s 2008 financial accounting of its precious metal holdings and its actual stockpile.

Auditors concluded that approximately 17,500 troy ounces of gold, or about 0.32% of the mint’s fiscal 2008 throughput, is indeed missing.

A report published by the auditors concluded that, “the unaccounted-for difference in gold does not appear to relate to an accounting error in the reconciliation process, an accounting error in the physical stock count schedules, or an accounting error in the record-keeping of transactions during the year.”

It is still unclear whether any gold is physically missing from the inventory. The gold may have been lost through the refining process. The auditor suggested a review of the technical processes used in the various aspects of refining.

Errors in reconciling the financial records and the physical stockpile of precious metal in previous years may also be the source of the missing gold. However, the auditors concedes “it would be difficult to complete such a review due to the passage of time, the availability of supporting documentation and the turnover of mint staff.”

Of course foul play has not been ruled out. On June 9th, the Canadian government asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to probe a possible heist, after mint officials signaled that the audit was not likely to reconcile the discrepancy.

The mystery surrounding the 17,500 ounces of missing gold is still being investigated.