Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Australia’s Perth Mint gold sales hit four-month high

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Gold sales from Australia’s Perth Mint, which refines all the output in the world’s second-biggest producer of the precious metal, hit the highest level in four months last month, driven by a rally in prices that stimulated demand.

Sales of gold coins and minted bars rose to 39,405 ounces from 36,127 ounces in May and the most since February, according to data from the mint published by Reuters. In comparison, the mint sold 47,692 ounces in June last year.
US sales, instead, went downhill, with American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins dropping when compared to the same period in 2013. The decline for the silver comes as the US Mint recently lifted their allocation program, which had been limiting the number of coins authorized purchasers were able to order.
During June 2014, Silver Eagle sales reached 2,692,000 ounces. This amount was down from the prior month when sales were a more robust 3,988,500 ounces. The amount is down by 17.8% compared to the year ago period of June 2013 when sales were 3,275,000 ounces.
Extract : and Reuters

Gold as a private currency

Friday, March 28th, 2014

For the system to function once again, gold should constitute a private currency for which only users would be the guarantors; as in the spirit of SALT (system or service of local exchange), but with the advantage of a quick exchange, which would not rely on waiting for a service rendered by a neighbour.
“Gold was always the currency of choice of the free man, but the statesman does not want free men.” (Andre Dorais, in Le Québécois, September 21st, 2009).
Over recent years, gold has been exploited for political purposes, for instance the Chinese government’s policies on increasing gold holdings, or, equally politically inspired, Gordon Brown’s sale of nearly half the UK reserves. Yet gold is essentially apolitical: it has the same value beyond borders; it is the savings of conservative voters, the private currency of people of the left and even of the anarchists who await a new world order.
Could gold then be the federator, the currency of the future around which everyone would get together and exchange, without an intermediary as manipulator? It has after all the necessary qualities to constitute a private currency.

In opposition to the currency issued by a central bank, private currency is a financial security issued by a private bank (or free bank). A contract defines the conditions according to which the issuer guarantees the value and the liquidity of its currency, as well as the standard by which to measure the value of the currency.
If the value which one gives to a currency remains subjective, that of gold is universally recognized so that it can very well be used as a “value meter” (of standard) for any currency – and gold has itself the advantage of having once been actual currency, for example, French 20F &10F Napoleons or British gold sovereigns (Fig. 6).
Moreover, the value of the private currency is decided only by the currency contract, the private contract signed between the issuer and the user: thus, its value does not depend on the political whims of a state. The growing mistrust of citizens with respect to official currencies may one day encourage them to use a non-governmental currency tied to gold. It would thus constitute a true shield to the benefit of individual freedom.

Amazingly it is in the US that this has already started happening in the state of Utah where they have remonetized gold. Discontent with the erosion of their wealth and purchasing power arising from the effects of quantitative easing (devaluation of the dollar) citizens have campaigned for and forced new laws into being that have led to the establishing of a state depository where gold and silver coins can be stored. This new currency allows participants to conduct commercial transactions including paying their taxes using the value of their stored gold. They have introduced a card which can be “loaded” with dollar equivalents of their gold holdings so even though they have to spend dollars it is deducted from their precious metal account balance. This is effectively the reintroduction of the Gold Standard in one forward-thinking state whose citizens have lost patience with the dollar and the “untouchables” who manipulate it.

Extract from the English adaptation of the French book : L’or, Un Placement qui (R)Assure (2011) written by Jean-François Faure,President and founder of


Monday, January 17th, 2011

After its tenth consecutive year at a high, and after closing 2010 with a 25% increase, the price of gold will continue the same trend in 2011.

Precious metal experts, financiers and market analysts from different countries all agree that the combination of factors which encourages a high price for gold will continue to benefit the sector in 2011 and investors will continue to see gold as a safe haven in the face of a very delicate global economic situation.

Those who had already made an investment in gold are looking at the global context to decide if this is the time to take profits or else continue their investments in precious metals.

Those who had not however, especially in Europe, now see gold as the best value protection for their savings and investments or for anyone seeking to diversify their holdings. But the measures adopted by the Central Banks have also contributed to encouraging the increase in the price of this commodity.

Analysts from UBS have upwardly revised their forecasts for the price of gold. The reason is the uncertainty generated in the European financial system, the weakness of the dollar and the growth in inflation in Asian countries which are leading to growing debts in Western countries and an excess of liquidity in the USA.

Jim Rogers, the commodities investment guru, said that gold will continue to rise over the next decade, although it may fall off before it reaches historical values adjusted for inflation.

Anne-Laure Tremblay, a precious metals strategist from BNP Paribas, stated that “the price of gold is being helped by a weakly backed dollar and solid investment demand”.

Bill Bonner, of Moneyweek and the Daily Reckoning, stated recently “Back in the real world, gold is trading at about $1,400 an ounce, up from less than $500 five years ago. That’s a 23% annualised return, far outstripping the gains on stocks (1.1%) or bonds (6.1%). Fear is driving a lot of the rise.”

According to a report from Swiss private bank Sarasin, one of the main developers of sustainable investment products in Europe, “the price of gold over recent months has been mainly driven by investment demand. This is principally reflected by the growing quantities of gold held in exchange-traded funds (ETF)”.

“The outlook for metals will remain positive next year. There is sufficient demand from the investment perspective in order to maintain a relatively upward trend, particularly in gold”, said Darren Heathcoat, operations manager of Investec Australia in Sidney.

For its part, the German newspaper Handelsblat remarked in one of its columns that investors who are temporarily betting on gold “can rub their hands”. It added that central Banks have moved from being sellers to buyers of this metal and this is an unequivocal signal about the safest place for investors.

The Australian gold rush – Gold creates a nation

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

The discovery of gold in Australia in the mid 19th Century had more of an affect on the nation than its discovery in any other country, transforming Australia from a British penal colony to a nation that integrated many nationalities. To this day a term of endearment for Australians is “Digger”.   It was not an easy passage and on the way there was greed, dispute, revolution, racism and a new type of outlaw “the bushranger; but gold was responsible for the building of infrastructure, the end of transportation and financial viability. Britain no longer had any excuse for withholding self-government from its Australian colonies eventually leading to the formation of the Federation of the Commonwealth of Australia after the referendum of 1900. As for gold itself some of the biggest nuggets ever formed came out of Australia which gave the name to famous “nugget” gold bullion coin of today.

It all began when Edward Hargraves returned from the Californian goldfields and was convinced that there was  similarity in geological features between Australia and the California. In February 1851, Hargraves took his pan and rocking-cradle and with his guide, John Lister, set out on horseback to Lewes Pond Creek, a tributary of the Macquarie River close to Bathurst where he filled and washed several pans, some of which did indeed produce gold. He named the place ‘Ophir’ after the biblical golden city, reported his discovery to the authorities, and was appointed a ‘Commissioner of Land’. He received a reward of £10,000, plus a life pension

Australian gold fields

Australian gold fields

Word spread quickly and within a few days 100 diggers were frantically tunneling for instant wealth. The road over the Blue Mountains from Sydney became choked with men from all walks of life, carrying tents, blankets, and rudimentary mining equipment hastily bought at inflated prices. By June there were over 2000 people digging at Bathurst, and thousands more were on their way. Gold fever gripped the nation and the colonial authorities responded by appointing ‘Commissioners of Land’ to regulate the diggings and collect licence fees for each ‘claim’.

Hargraves could never have dreamt how significant his discovery would be. New South Wales yielded 26.4 tonnes (850,000 ounces) of gold in 1852. This was a mere drop in the ocean compared to the yield from neighbouring Victoria when they joined the rush for gold.

The Victorian authorities, eager to prevent its population from joining the gold frenzy in NSW, offered a reward of £200 for any gold found within 200 miles of Melbourne. In 1851, six months after the New South Wales find, gold was discovered at Ballarat, and a short time later at Bendigo Creek.

Very soon the fabulously wealthy alluvial goldfields at Ballarat and Bendigo turned Victoria into a magnet for immigrant adventurers, who came in their hundreds of thousands – literally. The Australian gold rush would transform the British colonies, eventually into a nation. In 1851 the population of Victoria stood at around 80,000, and a decade later it had risen to over 500,000. In 1852 alone, 370,000 immigrants arrived in Australia and the economy of the nation boomed. The total population of Australia increased threefold from 430,000 in 1851 to 1.7 million in 1871.

Deposits were also uncovered in other states: Western Australia and Queensland in the early 1850s, the Northern Territory in 1865, and Tasmania in 1877, though the rich Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie fields in the west were not uncovered until the 1890s. But Victoria was the epicentre of the Australian gold rush.

holtermanns nugget

Holtermann's Nugget

In October 1872 Holtermann’s Nugget was found. At that time it was the world’s largest specimen of reef gold. It weighed 286 kg and measured 150cm by 66cm. The Hand of Faith (27.2 kg), the Welcome Stranger (73.4 kg) and the Welcome (69.9 kg) are other famous Australian nuggets. Between 1851 and 1861 Australia produced one third of the world’s gold

Despite the romantic attraction the reality was a harsh life with filthy and dangerous conditions made all the worse by the administration.  The system of licences caused great trouble at all the goldfields. Miners had to pay the fee of 30 shillings each month, which was exorbitant, whether or not they had found gold. They had to renew the licence each month. They had to carry their licence at all times to avoid prosecution. The frequent licence hunts caused great resentment within the mining communities, especially as the police employed to enforce the licencing system were notoriously corrupt and behaved with excessive brutality. As resentment and tension grew, under the leadership of Peter Lalor, an Irish immigrant, a group of several hundred miners erected a stockade of logs at Eureka near Ballarat. They withdrew into the stockade and unfurled the eureka flagSouthern Cross flag to proclaim an oath to fight to defend their rights and liberties. This was meant to be symbolic rather than revolutionary and most miners left after a day but some 400 troops stormed those that remained and 22 miners were killed and the leaders arrested and taken for trail. However, the courts refused to convict them and a following Royal Commission remedied the miner’s grievances and allowed them political representation  and Peter Lalor was elected to the Victoria parliament.

With Police concentrating on licence hunts they had little time to fight other crime and  travelers,  particularly those heading towards Melbourne from the gold fields were liable to be ambushed by groups of outlaws called bushrangers.

The diggers had come from many nations but by far the largest national contingent other than British and Irish were the 40,000 Chinese who had made their way to the Australian goldfields. They were mostly under contract to businessmen and worked the goldfield until the debt for their passage was paid off. As the deposits dwindled there were moves to restrict the Chinese diggers as they worked untiringly and were able to sustain the viability of their claims longer than their Western counterparts. They would rework ground abandoned by Europeans, and continue to work a claim until the whole of the gold bearing earth had been cleaned. There were campaigns to oust the Chinese from the goldfields and the motivation was based on racism and fear of competition for the  dwindling amounts. Victorian Parliament imposed a tax of £10 a head on all Chinese entering the colony and a poll tax of £1 per annum levied on every Chinese person on the goldfields. Restrictions were eventually placed on Asians in general, to prevent an influx from other nearby nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. And of course the native Aborigine was rarely permitted to own gold.

At the turn of the century the Australian gold fields were the most productive in the world and today the hold second place ironically to China who have raced to the head of the gold producers in the last decade. The richness of the gold fields brought large numbers genuine traders who supplied the tools, timber and transportation plus the usual hotchpotch of drinking dens, hotels and prostitutes.  New towns and cities sprung up and merchants of all types flourished and hundreds of companies were floated and a new wealthy bourgeoisie was created. They eventually wanted to distance themselves from the riffraff so more respectable areas were built, trams were required for transport in the towns and railway networks were needed to join them. By 1853 under pressure from the new wealthy inhabitants the British ceased the process of transporting convicts to Australia. Many large public works programmes were undertaken as prosperity increased. This dramatic improvement in wealth and facilities led to the formation Federation of the Commonwealth of Australia after the referendum of 1900.  A new Nation was born

Maurice Hall



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"For a mountaineer, the important things are the effort, the posture and the muscles. The rope that holds him serves no purpose when everything works but it gives him a sense of security. In the same way, all gold does is ensure confidence; it's a safe haven."