Treasure hunt: Find the golden nail in Farmville

March 25, 2017 Posted by admin

FARMVILLE — The search is on for the golden nail.

Linda Adele Goodine, a professor at East Carolina University, and her students recently launched The Golden Nail Project.

The 14-karat gold nail, which is made of scrap gold donated by Farmville residents, is hidden in architecture somewhere between Contentnea Creek and the railroad tracks.

The nail is valued at $1,000, Goodine said.

There are 11 clues hidden in businesses throughout Farmville that will lead treasure hunters to the nail. Clues are featured on the perimeter of the poster and within the illustration. One of the clues is a two-part clue, Goodine said.

The person who locates the nail should call the phone number engraved on it for further instructions. The winner will be announced at this year’s Dogwood Festival opening ceremonies.

Goodine’s friend and fellow artist, Michael Hunter, a goldsmith, conducted similar treasure hunts in Detroit and New Orleans.

“We want to promote the town, local businesses and local history,” Goodine said.

She said those with a knowledge of Farmville likely will be able to decipher clues more quickly than those who do not have a strong grasp on the town’s history.

The clues were created by Goodine’s students based on research and oral histories they obtained at Joyner Library, the May Museum Park, the Farmville Chamber of Commerce, Pitt County historian Roger Kammerer and residents of Farmville.

The Golden Nail Project ties into Goodine’s initiative to promote public art. She also hosts the Wonder Box art exhibit, Dinner for Two in the Wonder Box and the series “What Don’t You Know,” where students are partnered with residents to teach each other a trade, hobby or skill.

Goodine also is hosting “Vamos A Bailar,” or Let’s Dance, from 5:30-7 p.m. on March 30 and April 6 on the town common. This free event will feature Latin dancing, like Zumba.

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LAWRIE WILLIAMS: Swiss gold exports to India top the table in February

March 24, 2017 Posted by admin

Gold exports from Switzerland are an excellent indicator of the strength of the gold flows from the West to the East and while the February overall figure was a low 88.7 tonnes, compared with total imports of 139 tonnes, the make-up of these totals in itself tells an interesting story. 

The top recipient of Swiss gold exports in February was India – comfortably – with 37.2 tonnes confirming the reported pick-up in Indian gold demand so far this year as the populace got to grips with the withdrawal from circulation of Rupee 1,000 and 500 notes.  India is very much a cash society and much of the gold buying pressures comes from individuals making small cash purchases when their financial situation makes this possible – and last year’s monsoon rains, and subsequent harvest, were good increasing gold demand from the enormous subsistence agricultural sector – which traditionally forms a very significant part of gold demand in the subcontinent.

And then the next biggest recipient of Swiss gold last month was mainland China with direct imports of 21.5 tonnes, dwarfing the 7.2 tonnes to Hong Kong. (Indeed Hong Kong was a substantial net exporter of gold back to Switzerland – more of which later).  The direct flow of gold into mainland China again confirms that Hong Kong gold imports can very definitely no longer be considered a proxy for Chinese imports, nor flows from Hong Kong to the mainland be taken as anything more than an ever-decreasing indicator of overall Chinese gold consumption as more and more gold is taking the direct route. (See article: China 154, Hong Kong 39. Swiss Dec gold exports show remarkable gold flows which highlighted this situation with respect to a huge December figure for gold exports from Switzerland direct to mainland China).

A bar chart showing the breakdown of Swiss gold exports on a country-by country basis is shown below courtesy of Nick Laird’s website:


The Swiss gold imports are interesting too in that although the UK is again the largest source of imported gold, accounting for a little over 30 tonnes, the second and third largest sources were Hong Kong (26.5 tonnes) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 16.4 tonnes.  Thailand also accounted for 9 tonnes of Swiss gold imports.  All three of these are traditional gold consuming nations so the fact that Switzerland is importing gold from them suggests, perhaps, light demand and destocking by traders, perhaps coupled with some scrap.  The higher gold price prevailing in February may also have stimulated some of these reverse flows.  See chart below – again courtesy of


Most of the other sources of the Swiss gold imports are gold producing nations like the USA, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Argentina, Peru, Russia and South Africa, although one should perhaps see Germany and Italy as somewhat anomalous, although both were actually net importers of Swiss gold in February.

Switzerland is very much a conduit for gold flows from West to East, largely because of it being the location for four of the world’s largest independent gold refineries.  (Swiss refineries are reported by to account for 65-70% of world refined gold output).  These refineries specialise in re-refining .995 London good delivery gold bars in 350-430 troy ounce sizes, and refining gold scrap, and producing the higher .999 purity and much smaller gold bars and wafers in demand in the East, as well as producing high purity gold coins for some nations.  Upwards of 1,600 tonnes a year of gold passes through these Swiss refineries, which is around half global gold production.  Indeed in 2013, when Chinese demand was booming and there were big liquidations out of the gold ETFs, it is reported that Swiss gold exports exceeded 2,500 tonnes (equivalent to nearly 80% of global new mined gold output that year).

So the importance of the Swiss gold import and export figures cannot be emphasised enough in terms of global gold flows and where they are coming from and going to.  In the latest month’s figures almost 85% of the Swiss gold exports were headed for Asia.  The West to East gold flows continue unabated.

23 Mar 2017

About the author

Lawrence Williams

Lawrence (Lawrie) Williams is a well known London-based writer and commentator on financial and political subjects, but specialising in precious metals news and commentary. He is a qualified and experienced mining engineer having graduated in mining engineering from The Royal School of Mines, a constituent college of Imperial College, London – recently described as the World’s No. 2 University (after MIT).


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Struggling with dore imports, MMTC Pamp banks on domestic gold scrap

March 23, 2017 Posted by admin

Facing much difficulty in import of dore, the term for unrefined gold, India’s only refinery with LBMA (London Bullion Market Association) accreditation, MMTC Pamp, has diverted its focus on domestic jewellery scrap collection, to meet its raw material needs.
A joint venture between government-owned MMTC and Switzerland-based Pamp SA, the world’s leading bullion refiner, it has set up 10 scrap collection centres across major cities. These have testing machines and other equipment needed for checking purity of gold content in used jewellery. With these, it has recovered three tonnes of gold through scrap jewellery so far this financial year (ending March 31).

This contrasts markedly with the tepid response to the central government’s Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS), which has collected 6.4 tonnes of gold since launch in November 2015. The government has pushed thousands of bank branches to make GMS a success but this is the result till date, with even this much of collection being largely from temples. GMS has been unable to draw individual consumers.
In contrast, employing only a few dozen at its 10 collection locations, MMTC Pamp has got three tonnes in a year.
India’s scrap gold market is estimated at 100 tonne a year if defined as gold jewellery sold for money and 300 tonnes otherwise. Of which, 200 tonnes is converted into new jewellery; otherwise, old jewellery is converted back into bars. With dore import falling, scrap gold refining is emerging as a good business.
“There is a shortage of dore across the world, as credible miners normally prefer to deal with good delivery refiners (gold produced by these refineries is considered ethical and responsibly sourced, their products are accepted worldwide). Miners across the world are willing to take exposure in India; yet, even miners we deal with sell only small percentage of their dore to India. So, we have started collecting jewellery scrap from domestic sources, which we plan to ramp-up in future,” said Rajesh Khosla, managing director, MMTC Pamp.
Their plan is to set up at least five new scrap collection centres every year, to reduce dependence on imported dore. “We have an estimated 25,000 tonnes of gold holding in Indian households. One per cent of that as scrap, which means 250 tonnes. Even if we target 10 per cent of this used jewellery as broken ornaments, we would be able to collect 25 tonnes a year. We are asking customers to give us broken ornaments of no use for them,” said Khosla.
MMTC Pamp is currently operating at half its installed capacity, given constraints in raw material supply.
Aiming to also recover gold from used jewellery, GMS has failed to enthuse consumers to sell precious ornaments for earning an annual interest of 2.75 per cent. “With your unused gold ornaments, you are earning interest and your asset remains safe. What better deal than this can you have? For making GMS successful, the government should ask banks to prioritise scrap collection for the sake of nation building and set a target for each bank,” said Khosla.

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