The Country of Origin (CoO) data grants LBMA assured clarity regarding the origin, form and volume of the feedstock that Good Delivery List (GDL) Refiners acquire.

This data underscores the credibility of LBMA’s Responsible Sourcing Programme, providing a vivid insight into the global dynamics of the gold and silver movement.

A standout narrative from the 2021 data is the remarkable surge in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) material. Specifically, ASM gold saw a dramatic ascent of 312%, from 16 to 66 tonnes. This means ASM material now accounts for almost 2% of GDL production (previously this was less than 1%). Approximately 32 tonnes of this notable increase could be attributed to a heightened emphasis on accurately reporting ASM material driven by RGG v9. There is still work to be done as ASM gold accounts for 20% of global mined material, GDL Refiners only processed a mere 9% of this global 20% in 2021, even with the significant increase.

With four years of data at our disposal, the importance of advocating for ASM in steering the course of sustainability and responsible sourcing becomes unambiguously clear. Furthermore, ASM silver sourcing did not lag, marking a substantial 440% growth, from 2.5 to 13.7 tonnes.

Conversely, gold from LSM (Large-Scale Mining) saw a 12% contraction, and Recycled Gold declined by 7%. The shadow of the pandemic unquestionably lingered over the precious metals industry in 2021. Moreover, it is pivotal to highlight that Russia is conspicuously absent as a destination in this year’s report. Though six Russian Good Delivery Refiners were present in 2021, they were suspended due to sanctions before their assurance, impacting data submission.

To provide context, in 2020, Russian GDL Refiners accounted for 6% of the total material sourced by Good Delivery Refiners.

Mined silver sourcing mirrored gold’s trajectory, but recycled silver markedly diverged, witnessing a robust 33% growth year-on-year, amounting to 12,982 tonnes, most likely due to the uplift in the silver price in 2021 versus 2020. When gauged against 2019 and 2020, LSM-sourced silver continued its downward trend, decreasing by 9% to 15,749 tonnes. But in a similar vein as above, in 2020, Russian GDL Refiners constituted 3% of the material sourced by Good Delivery Refiners, contributing to the observed decrease in the 2021 data.

The publication of this data exemplifies LBMA’s unwavering dedication to transparency and disclosure.

Metals Focus has prepared a report analysing LBMA’s Country of Origin data against its independent research. This report delves into the disparities and similarities in the data and discusses the methodologies applied. You can read the full Metals Focus report here.

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