What is the Perth Mint?
Owned by the Government of Western Australia, the Perth Mint is one of the country's official bullion mints. Next to its counterpart the Royal Australian Mint, the Perth Mint issues coins for legal tender and circulation in Australia.
The Perth mint first opened in 1899, when rich gold deposits were being discovered in the area. At the time, Western Australia was still just one of six separate British colonies that, a few years later, established themselves as the Commonwealth of Australia.
In its early years, the Perth Mint produced gold coins used as currency in both Australia and throughout the British Empire. In 1931, when Britain abandoned the gold standard, the mint stopped producing the British gold sovereign coins it had mined for the previous decades.
Even after Australia came into its own as a country, the Perth Mint remained under British control until 1970. Following this period, the mint came under the ownership of the Government of Western Australia. Then, in 1987, Australia’s Parliament created the Gold Corporation, an entity to operate the Perth Mint while remaining under the ownership of the government of Western Australia. This gave the Perth Mint the authority to mint and sell gold, silver, and platinum both domestically and globally.
In 2003 the mint opened a new, state-of-the-art facility for increased manufacturing capabilities. This has propelled the Perth Mint into the 21st century as one of the world’s foremost leaders in precious metal minting.
The Perth Mint and Gold
As Australia’s only multi-accredited gold and silver refiner, weight master, and assayer, the Perth Mint has achieved great success in gold production throughout the years. The mint produces a variety of gold products, including:
- Gold coins
- Gold cast bars
- Gold minted bars
- Gold collectibles
- Gold jewelry
As global commerce has moved into the digital realm, so has the Perth Mint. The mint now issues gold-backed digital certificates as a means to allow for buying and selling precious metal online. Digital certificates are backed by physical gold held at the Perth Mint, and guaranteed by the government of Western Australia. This allows for easy cross-border trade of Perth Mint gold.
Recent numbers show that the Perth Mint processes more than 90% of all gold in both the Australian and Asian markets, accounting for 10% of the world’s gold production. Along with its high volume output, the mint produces gold of high quality as well. Its refinery can produce gold from 14 to 24 karats, up to 0.9999 purity.
The Perth Mint Gold Timeline
- 1957 - The mint produces a 400g plate of gold at 0.999999 purity, arguably the purest gold quality.
- 1987 - Australia’s Parliament creates the Gold Corporation, an entity to operate the Perth Mint while being wholly owned by the Government of Western Australia.
- 1987 - The Australian Nugget Gold Coins Series is launched, selling 155,000 ounces of gold on its first day.
- 2011- The mint creates the world’s largest and heaviest gold coin, measuring 31 inches in diameter, weighing 1,012 kilograms, and having 0.9999 purity.
- 2019 - The Perth Mint refines about 90% of gold in the Australian and Asian markets.
- 2020 - The GoldPass app is introduced, allowing digital trading of Perth Mint gold 24 hours a day.
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