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OTTAWA — More than $3 million in government gold was unwittingly sold off at a fraction of its value as refinery slag, while $8 million more was miscounted and never left the Royal Canadian Mint, the Crown corporation revealed Monday in a full accounting of how it lost track of a fortune in gold for a year.
A series of miscalculations and blunders in the mint’s gold refinery dating back to 2005 were responsible for 17,500 troy ounces — a system of weights for precious metals — of gold going missing from the mint’s Ottawa inventory count last October, the mint announced in a 12-page report.
That’s the equivalent of almost 44,400-ounce bars, worth more than $20 million in today’s prices.
The mint said a 14-month hunt to find out what happened to the precious metal now “fully accounts” for the missing gold, though it admits almost 3,500 ounces unwittingly sold off in slag to U.S. re-refiners will never be recovered.