LBMA Country-of-Origin Analysis Report 2023

Appendix - Gold and Silver Recycling Methodologies

Recycling has always been pivotal in the gold and silver markets. In terms of the headline figures collated by Metals Focus, it will account for around 24% and 17% respectively of global supply in 2023. Furthermore, as the precious metals markets have placed greater emphasis on responsible sourcing, chain of custody and ESG, so recycling has increasingly found itself in the spotlight. This in turn has fostered a debate, as to what recycling actually constitutes.

In the context of this note, Metals Focus’ and LBMA’s methodology are laid out below. These vary considerably and reflect the different objectives of each organisation.

LBMA is focussed on the integrity of the supply chain within the GDL orbit, whose primary goals are “to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and human rights abuses, and respect the environment globally.”

Metals Focus’ approach has been developed over many years to provide as close to an understanding as possible of the broad dynamics of the entire precious metals market, including the impact of each area of supply and demand. In the context of recycling, this means that the consultancy focuses on the recovery of gold and silver from old fabricated products. By definition, this will therefore not include the melt of GDL 400oz gold and 1,000oz silver bars, both of which account for a noteworthy portion of LBMA’s COO gold and silver recycling series.

Metals Focus Methodology (1) LBMA Methodology
Includes old jewellery and silverware that are sold back into the supply chain, either by consumers or retailers. There is no distinction between jewellery and silverware that is sold back by consumers, or exchanged for a new piece: both streams are included in the COO recycling dataset.
Includes coins that have been fabricated, but never sold, that are subsequently melted down. Gold and silver recovered from industrial products.
Excludes: old jewellery that is exchanged for a new product, where the consumer pays the labour charge (this is common across Asia). The LBMA COO data includes gold and silver process scrap collected from manufacturers.
Excludes: “production” or “process” recycling, that is collected from jewellery, investment, industrial and dental manufacturers. Includes all coins and bars, irrespective if they have been sold back by investors, returned unsold by the trade or delivered from a vault. As such, this includes the reprocessing of GDL bars (e.g. into smaller bar sizes) which forms an important part of the COO recycling dataset.
Excludes: the selling back of small investment bars and coins into the supply chain - these are categorised as disinvestment, not recycling. Note: the COO statistics for recycling can include gold and/or silver that is recovered from base metals mining concentrates (instead Metals Focus report this as a component of mine production).
Excludes: the melting down of GDL bars, of both gold and silver, for the purposes of e.g. small bar production.

1 Where possible the recycled gold and silver is counted in the region where it is generated, rather than where it is refined.