Rand Refinery: Gold lost through accounting fault

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Rand Refinery, which has processed about a third of the world’s gold since 1920, found $113 million (R1.2 billion) less physical metal than it had booked in its accounts after adopting a new computer system. The refinery had 87 000 ounces of physical gold less than the amount present in its accounting records after “implementation difficulties” with the new system, it said on Friday. Rand Refinery’s shareholders, including AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold and Harmony Gold Mining, agreed to lend it R1.2bn to help make up the difference. Management consultant Accenture is helping sort out the issue. Gold miners send bullion at about 80 percent purity to the refinery, which then treats it and boosts this to close to 100 percent. The miners had received the prices they were expecting, leading them to conclude it was most likely an accounting problem rather than theft, said James Wellsted, Sibanye’s spokesman. AngloGold, Sibanye and Harmony made loss provisions of about $92m between them as a result of the lost ounces. Rand Refinery had been unable to finalise its results. – Bloomberg


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