The Perth Mint - More than a century in precious metals
Gold Corporation's history started with the founding of the Perth branch of Britain's Royal Mint in 1899. At the time, gold sovereigns and half sovereigns were used throughout the British Empire as everyday circulating coins and it was the Royal Mint’s responsibility to supply them. Rather than shipping gold to London and then distributing coins back to Britain’s colonies, the Royal Mint built a number of branch mints throughout the Empire in places where gold was found. The Perth Mint was one of these - built to refine gold mined in Western Australia and turn it into sovereigns. When sovereigns were withdrawn from circulation in 1931, the Mint used its skills in the production of other coins, although it still continued to refine gold. It remained under British ownership until 1970 when control passed to the Government of Western Australian.
Gold Corporation was created by the Gold Corporation Act 1987 to take over the operations of the Mint and launch Australia’s official bullion coin programme. The Australian Nugget coin was launched in 1987, and was followed by many other successful bullion coin programmes and commemorative coins.
The Mint's refining activities eventually outgrew the old premises in the city of Perth and a new refinery was built near Perth’s international airport. This facility commenced operation in 1990.
Gold Corporation has two wholly owned subsidiaries - Western Australian Mint and GoldCorp Australia.
Gold Corporation and its subsidiaries, trading as The Perth Mint, supply precious metal related products and services, including:
- Refining of gold and silver and producing London Good Delivery bars;
- Value-added cast bars, minted bars and Australian legal tender bullion coins which promote the ownership of precious metals;
- Precious metal depository products which enable investors to own precious metals without having to deal with the security, insurance and other issues associated with taking physical possession of precious metals;
- Proof, numismatic and commemorative coins which are legal tender of Australia and other countries;
- Storage and safekeeping for precious metals; and
- Coin blanks and other precious metal products.
It also operates a tourist attraction based on the themes of gold, coins and their history, and offers assaying and other services to the gold industry. Gold Corporation commits to:
- Supplying products, services and experiences which delight customers and users;
- Promoting the history and heritage of Australia locally and internationally through its coins;
- Preserving its heritage assets and history for the benefit of the community;
- Providing fulfilment, development, security and fair reward to its employees;
- Generating an acceptable financial return for its shareholder, the Government of Western Australia; and
- Paying a fair royalty to the Australian Treasury on Australian legal tender coins issued.
It is committed to high ethical standards, respect for people and the environment, and enlightened business practices.
Gold Corporation’s functions, as described in Sections 10, 36 and 49 of the Act, include:
- Refining gold and silver produced in Australia and surrounding countries, as well as recycled metal;
- Developing, manufacturing and marketing Australian legal tender investment coins and other products that promote the ownership of physical precious metal for investment purposes;
- Designing, manufacturing and market proof, commemorative and numismatic coins and related products;
- Making available investment products that enable investors to have exposure to the value of precious metals without having to deal with the security and other issues associated with the keeping of the physical metal;
- Providing storage and safekeeping facilities for precious metals;
- Being a major supplier of precious metal blanks to the mints of the world;
- Operating a tourist attraction, based on the themes of gold and minting, that is important to Perth and Western Australia;
- Supplying refining and other services to the gold industry of Australia; and
- Preserving the historical Mint building and artefacts that are part of the heritage of Perth and Australia.