Perth Mint unveils Australia’s most expensive gold-diamond coin

Australia’s Perth Mint has unveiled this week the most expensive collector coin in the country’ history — a diamond-encrusted treasure valued at $2.5 million ($1.8m).

Made of 99.99 percent pure gold, the coin features four rare Argyle pink and purplish-pink diamonds. The largest is 1.02 carat.

Named the Discovery Gold Coin, its design was inspired by the holey dollar, which was introduced by governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1814.

From a gemstone perspective, each of the four fancy pink diamonds in the coin’s reverse is accompanied by an original gem identification and authenticity document from Argyle Pink Diamonds. (Image courtesy of Bill Johnston | Twitter.)

The 2kg-coin comes in two parts, an outer ring and a centrepiece emulating colonial Australia’s first official coinage – the historic “holey dollar and dump.”

The coin will be on display at The Perth Mint’s retail store until the end of September, unless a collector with quite a bit of cash to spare snatches it earlier.

Source:, by Cecilia Jamasmie

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Gold recoils amid selloff but may rebound

Gold has fallen to a 20-month low amid sharp EM currency depreciation. At these levels, we believe the gold price may bounce back. Consumer demand is likely to be supportive in H2. And short positioning may quickly reverse should one of the many current macroeconomic risks materialise, increasing investment demand.

Momentum built as gold fell

The gold price lost 3% during the first half of August, a downturn that was exacerbated by gold’s fall below US$1,200/oz – an important technical support level – for the first time since early 2017.

Gold was propelled down by the strength of the US dollar against both developed and emerging market currencies, particularly, a weakening of the Chinese yuan first and Turkish lira later. In fact, the dollar’s strength has been one of the most important drivers of gold’s performance this year as confrontational trade rhetoric and sanctions has so far played in favour of the US. In addition, both the ECB and BOJ have delayed policy rate hikes, increasing differentials between interest rates in the US.

But gold may rebound due to both technical and fundamental reasons:

  • An usually short market
  • Financial market uncertainty remains
  • Natural buyers may step in


Gold’s pullback has been partly driven by dollar strength

Source: Bloomberg, ICE Benchmark Administration, World Gold Council, 23rd August 2018

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Egyptian copper’s origin revealed

Two new studies published in the Journal of Archaeological Science unveil where ancient Egyptians got the red metal from.

According to one the studies, led by Frederik Rademakers of KU Leuven in Belgium, there was predominant reliance on relatively local ore from the Eastern Desert and the Sinai Peninsula.

Based on isotope and chemical analyses of 40 metal samples from funerary objects and seven ore samples dating from the Predynastic, Protodynastic and Old Kingdom Periods, the research suggests significant developments in smelting technology that may have been adapted to different ore types.

“The underlying organization of early supply networks, clearly reliant on a variety of mining and production zones, and the development of copper production technology are only slowly revealed through ongoing research,” Rademakers said in a media statement.

The objects he and his team examined belong to the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels.

The second study, carried out by four Czech institutions, analyzed 22 artifacts from the Egyptian Museum of Leipzig University in Germany. The objects show similar production technology but diverse origins of the metal, including an Early Dynastic Egyptian object from Abusir that is high in nickel metal, something that is consistent with ores and artifacts from Early Bronze Age Anatolia, in present-day Turkey.

This research confirms that special metals had circulated around the Ancient Near East earlier than previously thought.

In the view of Erez Ben-Yosef, professor at the J. M. Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Tel Aviv University, the studies constitute an important step forward in current knowledge on copper provenance and the subsequent economic, social and cultural insights into ancient Egypt.

source:, by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud | 6 days ago |

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Exports enjoyed double-digit growth in first half of year

Greek exports enjoyed double-digit growth in June and also in the first six months of the year, data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data has shown.

Expressing optimism that the rising trend will continue for the export sector for the rest of the year, the Panhellenic Exporters Association said it was encouraging to see the reduction in the trade deficit in the first six months of the year even though it increased significantly in June.

ELSTAT data released on Tuesday showed that exports amounted to around 3 billion euros (including fuel products) in June, recording annual growth of 24.8 percent. Excluding fuel, they reached 1.99 billion against 1.78 billion in June 2017, an 11.8 percent increase.

In the first half of the year, exports amounted to 16.44 billion, up 15.7 percent on last year’s figures. Excluding fuel products, the figure came to 10.98 billion, up 12.7 percent yearly. At the same time imports (excluding fuel) dropped 1.6 percent.

Nine of the top ten product categories saw an increase in exports, ranging from 6.8 to 35.7 percent in the first six months of the year. The only category to experience a fall was beverages and tobacco, which slipped 1.2 percent.

June recorded a significant increase in imports. Excluding fuel products, the value of imports in June stood at 3.38 billion, an increase of 12 percent. With fuel products factored in, imports stood at 4.97 billion, an increase of 27.1 percent.

The total value of imports in the first six months of the year amounted to 26.69 billion, up 4.5 percent. Excluding fuel products, imports were up 8 percent on the same period last year.

Including fuel, the trade deficit jumped 30.9 percent in June 2018 compared to the same month last year. Overall, however, the trade deficit decreased by 9.1 percent to reach 10.52 billion, compared to the 11.58 billion recorded in the first half of last year.


source:, 8/8/2018

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Mining is Driving the World’s Leading Innovations, Improving Products and the World

What if you could produce a product essential to countless consumer items, without any greenhouse gas emissions at all? Those are the thought going through the minds of innovators at Rio Tinto, which has been active in the aluminum sector for more than 110 years.

Rio Tinto, Alcoa and Apple are partnering to develop a revolutionary carbon-free smelting process to make aluminum, which produces oxygen and replaces all direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional aluminum smelting process. Combined, Rio Tinto, Alcoa, the Government of Canada, the Government of Quebec and Apple are investing $188 million (CAD).

In announcing the partnership, Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques said, “This is a revolutionary smelting process that can deliver a significant reduction in carbon emissions. It builds on the key role aluminum has to play in driving human progress, by making products infinitely recyclable, stronger, lighter and more fuel efficient. Rio Tinto is proud to work with Alcoa, Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec, to drive an innovation that can transform the industry and our customers’ supply chains.”

“This discovery has been a long-sought goal for the aluminum industry, and this announcement is the culmination of the work from many dedicated Alcoa employees. Today, our history of innovation continues as we take aluminum’s sustainable advantage to a new level with the potential to improve the carbon footprint of a range of products from cars to consumer electronics,” added Alcoa President and CEO Roy Harvey.


source:, July 2, 2018

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Russian scientists discover new mineral

An iron meteorite that was found in 2016 in Buryatia, southern Russia, provided the keys for the discovery of a new mineral called ‘uakitite,’ which is associated with sulfides, schreibersite and magnetite.

The discovery was made by researchers from the Ural Federal University, Novosibirsk State University and the Geological Institute at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science.

Given that the fragments found in the meteorite were extremely small, the scientists decided to obtain data on its crystal structure by using electron diffraction instead of a traditional X-ray analysis.

They found that temperatures of over 1000 degrees centigrade in the meteorite formed troilite-daubreelite associations, one of whose early minerals is uakitite. “It forms isometric (cubic) crystals (in daubreelite) or rounded grains (in schreibersite). The size of uakitite grains is usually less than 5 μm,” reads an abstract presented by the researchers at the 81st Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society.

Structurally, the new mineral is related to carlsbergite CrN and osbornite TiN.

The physical properties of uakitite were difficult to assess due to the tiny sizes of the grains, however, the researchers state that they know it has a yellow and transparent phase with metallic lustre, Mohs hardness is 9-10, it has a light gray colour with a pinky tint in reflected light and its density is calculated 6.128 g/cm3.


source:, by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

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Meghan Markle’s wedding band made with Welsh gold from historic mine

It’s the story of the weekend. Even if you don’t follow the Royals, you probably got a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding somewhere.

One of the most important elements in the ceremony was the wedding ring, particularly the one given to the bride. Similar to her engagement ring and following a 100-year-old tradition, Markle’s band was fashioned from a piece of Welsh Gold, gifted by Her Majesty The Queen.

The 24-carat piece of gold originated at the Clogau St. David mine, located near Bontddu in northwest Wales and owned by Clogau Gold of Wales. The Royals started receiving nuggets of the yellow metal from this mine back in 1923.

From Clogau St. David was also extracted the gold behind three generations of royal wedding bands, including those of the Queen Mother, the Queen, Princess Margaret, the Princess Royal and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Later on, in 1986, the Windsors started receiving gold from the Gwynfynydd mine, which is also located in northwest Wales and is now owned by Clogau.

The Clogau St. David and Gwynfynydd mines are currently closed, having last operated in the 1990s. However, early this year it was announced that the former might reopen.

London-based Alba Mineral Resources said it has taken a 49 per cent interest in Gold Mines of Wales Limited and that it had decided to restart the project because it sits on “a vastly under-explored exploration ground.”

In terms of Prince Harry’s wedding ring, a press release issued by Buckingham Palace revealed that his was made of platinum with a textured finish.

The couple chose Cleave and Company to make their bands. They were carried to St. George’s Chapel by The Duke of Cambridge Prince William, Harry’s older brother and best man.

Cleave and Company also crafted Markle’s engagement ring, which was designed by the Prince himself and features a yellow gold band and a central stone from Botswana, where Harry traveled to while growing up and again in the summer of 2017 to celebrate his now wife’s 36th birthday.


Photo from Buckingham Palace’s Facebook page.


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US lab mines gold from discarded SIM cards

Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque are using ultrasonic waves to strip gold from SIM cards.

In a report by ABC, materials chemist Dale Huber said that even though many different research groups are trying to recover the yellow metal from electronic waste, in most cases they are using environmentally unfriendly techniques like separating gold from other components by boiling off mercury and letting the fumes go into the air.

To avoid such practice, Huber’s team is submerging SIM cards in water and blasting it with ultrasonic waves. The process creates bubbles that collapse and when they do so, they can “shoot out a jet that hits the surface and actually physically breaks off pieces of metals,” Huber told the Australian broadcaster.

The researchers are still in the process of refining the new method, however, the idea is to develop the technology into a larger scale operation.


source:, Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

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Eldorado scores key win in row with Greece over projects

Canada’s Eldorado Gold (TSX:ELD)(NYSE:EGO) has won a key battle in its ongoing row with Greece after an arbitration panel ruled in favour of the company’s plans to build a plant for treating concentrates form the Olympias and Skouries projects, in the country’s north.

The panel rejected allegations that a technical study submitted by Eldorado was deficient and in violation of a transfer contract and the environmental terms of the project.

The panel’s verdict rejects the Greek government’s motion that the company violated its contractual obligations by submitting a deficient plan for the Madem Lakkos metallurgy plant, Eldorado said.

Authorities had also argued Eldorado breached a 2003 contract by which its subsidiary Hellas Gold acquired the Kassandra assets — Olympias, Skouries and Stratoni — in the country’s Halkidiki region.

The company’s President and CEO, George Burns, hailed the ruling. “We believe this decision provides a foundation to allow us to advance dialogue with the Greek government in order to define a mutually-agreeable and clear path forward for our Kassandra investments,” he said in the statement.

Burns added the company expected the Greek government to fulfil its obligations under the 2003 contract, including issuing the outstanding permits for the Skouries project.

Speculation surrounding the outcome of the arbitration lifted the company’s shares on Tuesday. It closed almost 6.6% higher in Toronto to Cdn$1.14 — the stock’s best day in six months.

Eldorado scores key win in row with Greece over projects

Source: Google Finance.

In September, the Vancouver-based firm threatened to halt new investments in its three key projects unless the government granted it permits and showed a willingness to engage in talks.

As a result, Eldorado was almost immediately granted several of the pending permits, with Greek authorities saying they were open to engage in talks with the company. The miner then postponed its decision to leave the country, but warned it reserved the right to place its assets on care and maintenance and to take prompt legal action to protect both the company and its assets should negotiations proved unsuccessful.

As talks with authorities stalled, the gold miner stopped in November all development and investment in its Skouries gold project located in the country’s northern region of Halkidiki.

Eldorado also initiated legal actions against the government in order to enforce and protect its rights in Greece. The measures include three lawsuits against the Ministry of Energy and Environment for failing to issue routine installation permits, which Eldorado said caused unjustifiable delays to the development of Skouries.

Last week, the company filed a new technical report for the gold project, which said it “significantly” reduces the development’s environmental footprint.

For this year, the company has forecast $20 million in development capital with future care and maintenance costs at Skouries estimated at $3 million to $5 million annually.


source:, by Cecilia Jamasmie

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Steel and aluminium companies fear indirect hit from US tariffs

Greece’s steel industry is on high alert after US President Donald Trump’s decision to slap a 25 percent tariff on imports of the commodity.

Greek firms do not export to the US, but the obstacles that Washington is raising to the flow of steel from abroad are expected to turn many major companies to markets where Greece currently exports to, thereby weighing on profit margins and reducing raw material prices.

The Aluminium Association of Greece added that if a 10 percent levy is added to the existing 3.5 percent tax in the US, there is a risk the European market will be flooded with aluminium products from third countries.


source:, ANESTIS DOKAS, 2/3/2018

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