Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 13:31 UK

Audit fails to find missing gold

Gold coins
About 15.3m Canadian dollars' worth of gold is "missing"

An external audit of the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) has failed to find millions of dollars' worth of "missing" gold.

Auditors Deloitte were asked in May to investigate a discrepancy between the amount of precious metals on the mint's inventory and in its actual stockpile.

Deloitte concluded that the unaccounted for difference "does not appear to be an accounting error" and identified security as an area for consideration.

The RCM said it was not yet clear whether any gold was actually missing.

"All customer holdings and metal deposits entrusted with the Royal Canadian Mint are secure and have been fully accounted for," it said in a statement.

The RCM provides storage for RCM-branded precious metals, as well as producing coins for Canada and dozens of other countries.

Criminal activity?

Deloitte found that there was a difference of approximately 17,500 troy ounces of gold, or 0.32% of the mint's production in the 2008 fiscal year, that was unaccounted for.

It said that there was also an unaccounted-for difference related to silver.

The RCM said the total amount of unreconciled precious metals was worth about 15.3m Canadian dollars (US$13.2m; £8m). It intends to file an insurance claim to cover the amount.

The mint has already requested the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to assist them with the matter - a move which has prompted speculation that the mint may have been the victim of a gold heist.

"You don't call in the federal police if you've got an accounting problem," said New Democrat MP Thomas Mulcair.

The auditors recommended that the mint review its security, in addition to reviewing its technical operations and accounting of prior periods.

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