Not Just Gold Missing from Mint—Silver and Platinum, too

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"The suggestion is the amounts are minor, though the mint declined requests to elaborate on the quantities involved."

More than just a fortune in gold is missing from the Royal Canadian Mint. Silver, platinum and palladium have disappeared, too, but the mint won't say how much.

Independent audit results released this week found no accounting, bookkeeping or other internal errors to account for about 17,500 troy ounces of gold missing from the mints inventory, the equivalent of almost 44 400-ounce bars valued at $15.3 million.

The probe by Deloitte briefly notes the mint has "also identified an unaccounted-for difference related to silver," and asked auditors to determine if sloppy accounting or bookkeeping was behind that, too.

Christine Aquino, mint spokeswoman, said in an e-mail the missing $15.3 million in gold, "takes into account. . .all our (missing) precious metal, gold being the most significant component but also including silver, platinum and palladium metals."

The suggestion is the amounts are minor, though the mint declined requests to elaborate on the quantities involved.

Meanwhile, speculation is mounting over how to sneak half a ton of gold out of the fortress-like mint headquarters on Sussex Drive, supposedly one of the most secure buildings in Canada.

The bulk of it, 16,494 ounces, disappeared from the gold refinery on the north side of the historic stone building, which is wired with metal detection and monitoring equipment that scans employees exiting the high security area.

One of the detectors creates computerized profiles of any metals in an individual's body, such as dental work. If the person's signature profile does not match with the metal scan as they exit the high security zone where precious metals are handled, guards are alerted.

"The first time I went through, I had a one-cent coin in my wallet and they found that," says Bret Evans, managing editor of Canadian Coin News. ". . .they gave it physical security to ensure that it was in fact a genuine one-cent coin, not a piece of gold that I'd painted or anything like that."

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