Statement from Sam Walsh AO, Non-Executive Chairman of The Perth Mint

Mar 21, 2023

The Perth Mint Chairman Sam Walsh AO has made a statement in response to recent media focus on the WA Government trading enterprise, including leadership changes and quality of gold bars.

“The Perth Mint is unique to Western Australia with a long history and positive legacy across the State.

“Since 1899, The Perth Mint has supported the WA gold mining industry, created local jobs, and produced high-quality gold and precious metal products and services for domestic and overseas markets.

“We take very seriously our position as a WA Government Trading Enterprise and are committed to meeting our obligations to the Government, the WA community, the gold mining sector, and our customers around the world.

“We acknowledge our historical shortcomings and non-compliances and are committed to learning from past mistakes.

“Since I was asked to join as Chair in 2019, The Perth Mint has been taking action to improve and strengthen governance, processes and sustainability and doing it properly, while concurrently dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.  Change is challenging in any organisation and takes time – we have some way to go but The Perth Mint is making good progress.

“Jason Waters’ appointment as CEO a year ago was a vital step in the major overhaul of The Perth Mint’s Executive Leadership Team, which has included appointing new heads of the Refinery, Finance, Treasury, Company Secretary and Risk & Compliance divisions.

“We now have a united and fully aligned leadership team at The Perth Mint. Jason and his team are committed to best practice in everything we do, a priority focus on the safety and well-being of our people and a cultural reset of the entire organisation.

“Similarly, there have been significant changes in the boardroom since I joined, with five directors departing and five new members joining as I have focused on ensuring the right and appropriate skill set to guide The Perth Mint.

“The Board is fully engaged in The Perth Mint’s fully funded remediation processes, with respect to AUSTRAC and US Model State Code requirements, which Jason and his team are implementing in parallel with and to support AUSTRAC’s independent audit into our processes.

“In relation to a recent media focus on the quality of The Perth Mint 1kg gold bars, I echo our CEO’s acknowledgement that the historical issues raised have been damaging to our reputation.

“Much has been made of my decision not to speak publicly on these operating matters.

“At all times, my focus has been on supporting The Perth Mint team and ensuring our governance principles and processes not only meet but exceed the expectations of a government trading enterprise such as ours. But it is also crucial that, in doing so, I don’t interrupt the operational activities of the business, which are rightly the remit of management. We constantly work to strike the right balance.

“In line with my responsibilities as non-executive chairman of The Perth Mint, I have maintained constant contact with the CEO and management during this period of heightened scrutiny to provide leadership, guidance and the strategic direction needed to navigate our current course.

“When the Board and I were notified in October 2021 that some of The Perth Mint’s 99.99% gold did not conform to the non-gold specifications of the Shanghai Gold Exchange, we took immediate action to ensure the matter was dealt with appropriately, an acceptable solution was found for the customer and the alloying process changed. The Minister was advised of the issue and its resolution in January 2022.

“I would like to emphasise that all 99.99 gold bullion bars sold by The Perth Mint are a minimum 99.99% gold purity. There has been no gold dilution as reported in some media. This is the specification that The Perth Mint has always maintained. The Perth Mint continues to guarantee the quality of its bullion to this high standard.

“I welcome the London Bullion Market Association’s announcement of an Incident Review Process. I know The Perth Mint team will work openly and transparently with the LBMA throughout this exercise. I note The Perth Mint remains on the LBMA Good Delivery List.

“Due to both privacy laws and the AML/CTF Act, we have been unable to comment on recent adverse media reports concerning our customer vetting processes.

“As The Perth Mint approaches its 125th anniversary next year, the Board and I are committed to industry best practice. We have charted a clear course to achieve our goals of living up to The Perth Mint’s long, proud and deserved legacy.”


Samia O'Keefe
Manager, Corporate Communications