British Refiner Says It Can Track Gold From Mine to Jewelry – by Victoria Gomelsky (New York Times – March 24, 2022)

Tracing the path that gold takes from mine to market is notoriously difficult. The precious metal is mined around the world, but unless it remains segregated on its journey through the global supply chain — most crucially at the refining stage, where batches traditionally are mingled — there is no way to distinguish the origins of one gold bar or the gold in one bauble from another.

That explains both gold’s millennia-old history as an international form of currency — and what many say is its most conspicuous modern-day weakness. With gold mining practices coming under increasing scrutiny for their potential links to child labor, mercury pollution and other human rights and environmental abuses, the drumbeat of voices demanding full traceability in the gold supply chain has been growing louder.

The calls have taken on new urgency in light of fresh concerns that the Russian government may use “gold supply chains as a tool to evade sanctions and further subsidize their military aggression against Ukraine,” as an open letter to the jewelry industry from the Global Gold Transparency Initiative, an advocacy group, recently put it.

Charlie and Dan Betts, brothers from Birmingham, England, who represent the ninth generation of their family in the gold smelting and refining business — in 1760, Alexander Betts founded what is now called Betts Refining in the city’s Jewelry Quarter — believe they have a solution to gold’s traceability problem.

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