Eww, Canada … Gold Smuggling the Hard Way: The Week in Metals

gold Gina Sanders/Adobe Stock

What, what, Canada? That was the question everyone was asking this week in Ottawa as the trial of a former Royal Canadian Mint employee wrapped up. Leston Lawrence was accused of stealing $140,000 worth of gold ($180,000 in Canadian dollars) from the mint where he worked as a refinery tester. Most of the missing gold was sold in 7.6-ounce, testing dipper-shaped pucks — of course there are pucks in this story, this is Canada — to an Ottawa Gold Sellers store in a nearby mall. Four more pucks were found in a safe deposit box Lawrence had at a nearby bank.

But if he was such a cunning thief, defense lawyers asked, how did he get all of those gold pucks out of the Mint’s tight security? Prosecutors said they found a tub of Vaseline in Lawrence’s locker at the Mint and, while that much gold anywhere on a person would set off the full-body metal detectors at the Mint’s doors, the secondary wand screening wouldn’t pick it up if the gold had been… forced between someone’s buttocks with the Vaseline. Well, that’s commitment.

Lawrence tripped the full-body scanners more than any other employee during the time that the Mint believes the thefts occurred but he always passed the secondary scan. We know gold prices have gone up, butt this is ridiculous.

China and Market Economy Status: A MetalMiner Project

Check out part one of the interactive MetalMiner project, "Why China Market Economy Status Matters." "China vs. The World," was published yesterday. If anti-dumping, international intrigue and World Trade Organization designations of trade status are your thing — and they're definitely ours because we're big-time metals nerds — then do we ever have the interactive story for you!

Months of reporting and research went into the report, so we hope you like it!

Aluminum: Hey, We Have Overcapacity, Too!

This week, trade organizations in the U.S. and India pressured their governments to use similar anti-dumping tools to combat cheap imports of aluminum. Both India and the U.S. are using tariffs to protect local markets from cheap Chinese imports.

Aluminum producers are feeling a bit unwanted as big brother steel seems to be getting all of the attention from their government parents. India is considering a minimum import price on aluminum, just like it has for steel, and the Aluminum Extruders Council has begun to put pressure on the Justice Department to block China Zhongwang’s acquisition of U.S. extruder Aleris here at home.

We’ll have more on anti-dumping efforts, market economy status and innovative, if gross, smuggling methods next week here at MetalMiner.

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