Welcome to the latest quarterly newsletter from our Good Delivery team, keeping you updated on what’s going on and what’s in store for the GDL system. The team’s focus in the last quarter of 2022 and the beginning of the first quarter of 2023 was developing and planning the workstream for this year.

Here are the top four strategic outcomes that the team will be focusing on this year.

ASM Task Force

The initiative to stop the decline of ASM gold throughput of GDL Refiners is receiving a lot of focus.

Gregory Mtembu-Salter of Phuzumoya Consulting is working on behalf of LBMA to produce “SWOT” reports for Countries that have been identified as representing “lower hanging fruit” in terms of ASM production. Currently, the focus is on countries in East and West Africa as well as South America.

A number of factors will be considered such as LSM engagement, government stability and willingness, NGO involvement as well as logistics and financing.

A major part of the initiative will be to establish a Task Force of interested parties to provide support, intelligence and feedback to LBMA. This will enable LBMA GDL Refiners to responsibly source ASM material, not just stem the decline but, to increase throughput.

Members of the LBMA team and Phuzumoya are involved in outreach efforts to ensure that the correct institutions, mining ministers and individuals in the targeted countries are engaged.

If you would like to be involved in this initiative, please contact Neil Harby at Neil.Harby@lbma.org.uk.

Implementation of ESG/Provenance Bar Listing

Following a successful GDL Rules Consultation last year, we have introduced this new Listing, for existing refiners. This will allow refiners to make additional claims and provide additional transparency and provenance information. In Q1 there was a soft launch to give us time to define the criteria to ensure its fit for purpose, have the appropriate governance in place, and ensure that the definition of ESG gold is ethical and traceable.

During the consultation we were mainly speaking to refiners regarding the development of the criteria. However, the question remains: is there someone to buy that product? This is why we are speaking to ETFs and investors to understand their needs, gauge their interest, and what they would be looking for to ensure the claims are traceable.

The final stage of this process will be to engage with the auditors on the additional criteria for third-party audits.

Enhanced Review of Proactive Monitoring Programme (PAM)

The Executive, in particular, Hannah Coakley, Physical & Technical Services Officer, will be working closely with the LBMA Referees group to carry out an enhanced review to ensure the PAM criteria, in particular, the four nines element remains fit for purpose. One question that will be explored is if Fire Assay is still relevant given the advancements in technology.

Development of Vault Training Programme

Approximately 100 users have accessed our vault operators training platform to date. The training provided is intended to validate, as opposed to substitute, in-house training. The current modules provide effective content on all the generic functions of a vault, but we acknowledge that the delivery mechanism requires us to unlock the current inflexibility of the platform.

Requests have been received for a more interactive experience (to pose questions and have a more visual/audible demonstration/explanation of actions) which would be difficult to facilitate in a live vault environment. Animation (with possibly an audio overlay) is being considered to replicate that live demonstration, with possibly a web-chat style Q&A.

A thorough review of current content has been completed and a report on revisions required produced. We have held a preliminary call with the developers to scope out proposed levels of works with attendant budgets which require approval from the LBMA Finance Committee and ExComm. Our aim is to refresh rather than re-design.

LBMA's GDL Consultant Tony Evanson presented a paper on vault training at our recent Assaying & Refining Conference, which closed with the opinion that other market participants could benefit from understanding vault functions, with potentially the addition of new, participant-specific modules (e.g. auditors), thus benefitting the functioning of the market.

Any questions, suggestions or comments regarding vault training can be directed to Tony Evanson, GDL Consultant at Tony.Evanson@lbma.org.uk.

Please see the video of his paper from the recent Assaying and Refining conference for the full story.

As well as the Vault Training Programme, Tony will also be focussing on the GBI project and the development of the Bar Database.

Highlights from this year's Assaying & Refining Conference

“The best A&R yet!”

The tenth biennial LBMA Assaying and Refining Conference was held at the Hilton, London Bridge from 12-15 March 2023.

The event was well attended by 230 representatives from all sectors of the market and from around the world.

The main theme for this year was Health and Safety in Refineries and Laboratories. The keynote speaker on Day One was Leo Simpson of Metalor USA who discussed “A Lifecycle Approach to Safety in Refineries”. The Health and Safety discussion was continued in the second session of Day One and in the Safety Workshop on the morning of Day Three.

Many of the topics normally covered at the Conference relating to Refining and Laboratory practices and new developments were also covered. The high level of interaction between presenters and the audience was maintained throughout the formal sessions, tea breaks, and social events.

The morning of Day Two dealt with topics that would also interest Vaults and Carriers such as Weighing, Vault Training and Bar Security Features which support Bar Integrity. A tour of Bureau Veritas facility on Day Three was fully booked.

LBMA would like to thank all involved in making the conference a great success and remind everybody that the search for speakers and presenters for 2025 has already started.