Country of Origin Data

LBMA’s Country of Origin Data is an aggregated dataset giving an insight into the global physical flow of gold and silver; from the country or region of origin, where the Good Delivery List (GDL) Refiners source their feedstock, to the country of destination, where the material is refined. The dataset includes the amount of material sourced and the type of process used to produce it: Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM), Large-Scale Mining (LSM) or Recycled.

How to read the chart?

The regions listed above the chart are the Regions of Origin; you can hover over each region to highlight where the material from that region was refined.

When you hover over the individual bars on the chart, it reveals the Region of Origin, the amount of material as a percentage of the total material sourced by GDL Refiners (and the amount of material sourced in kilograms (kg)), for each Country/Region of Destination and type of material, as listed on the left-hand side.

For example, looking at the 2020 Gold Material Flow, we can see that GDL Refiners in China sourced the following material:

  • ASM: 0
  • LSM: Oceania 7,146kg (<1%), South and East Asia 32,436kg (1%), Middle East 3,560kg (<1%) and East Asia 316,884 (6%), Africa 1,049kg (<1%)
  • Recycled Material: Oceania 65kg (<1%), Americas 58,248 (1%), Europe 17,136kg (<1%), South and South East Asia 36,820kg (1%), Middle East 853kg (<1%), East Asia 552,773kg (10%), Africa 1,120kg (<1%)
  • Collectively, Chinese refiners received 20-21% of the total material sourced by GDL refiners globally, categorised by ASM (0%), LSM (~8%) and Recycled material (~13%).

For the Country of Origin, you can download the full dataset here:

Where does the data come from?

As part of their Responsible Sourcing Audits, GDL Refiners must contain a confidential annex that details where every kilogram of gold or silver was sourced, and the type of process used to produce it.

The data is provided on a confidential basis and therefore a method to protect confidentiality has been developed. In order to respect the source data, destination countries and regions are grouped according to the following:

  1. Countries that have four or more refiners can be listed as the individual country
  2. Regions with only one refiner are grouped with the nearest geographical region
  3. Geographical regions are simply defined to enable the data to be presented and no political agenda is implied
  4. Countries are excluded from the region if they fall under the first criteria, to avoid double accounting

Data Validation

Whilst the numbers for Large Scale Mining (LSM) are comparable to the official numbers, the amount of known Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) production being refined through these refineries is negligible.

The origin numbers can be compared to the official known output of a country and the destination numbers can be compared to the import data of a country where the material is to be refined, although this may be harder to determine for regions.

Country of Origin (CoO) data can also be compared to the refined output of a refinery to ensure that no ‘alchemical’ bad practices are taking place (you can’t get more out than you put in!). It is mandatory for Refiners to supply refined output on an annual basis to LBMA and as this is now the fourth year that the CoO data has been available, this has enabled an enhanced ‘sense-check’ to be performed. It was necessary, in some cases, to clarify numbers with the Refiner. LBMA will also consult with leading Industry experts and interested parties, for example Metals Focus, who have prepared an Analysis Report of the Country of Origin data.

Silver Flow Transparency

The same process as that used for gold is used to produce the silver matrix. In the case of silver, however, ASM sourcing is less significant, but silver's use as an industrial metal adds to the complexity.