It's one thing to implicitly admit that there is a physical gold shortage and as a result nations - such as Germany - are unable to repatriate their physical gold held in the safe and trusted confines 90 feet below the NY Fed, gold which may or may not be there and has likely been leased out exponentially to cover paper shorts by virtually every BIS-overseen central bank (and the BIS paper gold selling team itself of course). It is something totally different to corzine, as in vaporize, 87,000 ounces of physical gold, some 2.7 tons, and blame it on a computer upgrade glitch. Which is precisely what Rand, Afrrica's largest refinery and processor of about a third of the world's gold since 1920, has done after it "discovered" that $113 million in precious metal was missing after "adopting a new computer system."
Bloomberg reports that the refinery in Germiston, a town 20 kilometers east of Johannesburg, has 87,000 ounces of physical gold less than the amount present in its accounting records after “implementation difficulties” with the new system, the company said in a statement today. That’s worth about $113 million at today’s price of $1,296 an ounce.
Taking a page out of China's infinite rehypothecation scheme, the South African refiner essentially told its investors, most of whom are gold miners, to step up and replenish the missing metal or else investors may come asking questions about their own reported gold holdings. And, it succeeded.
Rand Refinery’s shareholders, including AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (ANG), Sibanye Gold Ltd. (SGL) and Harmony Gold Mining Co. (HAR), agreed to lend the company 1.2 billion rand to help make up the difference.
Laughable excuses aside, those curious where the gold may have gone should probably ask the former CEO: "Howard Craig resigned as chief executive officer in May and has been replaced by Mark Lynam, who is being assisted by management consultant Accenture Plc in sorting out the issue."
However, just like in China, it appears nobody has any interest in actually digging deeper:
The miners, customers of the refinery, have received the prices they were expecting, leading them to conclude it’s most likely an accounting problem rather than theft, James Wellsted, a spokesman for Sibanye Gold, said by phone.
Perhaps it is normal when nearly 3 tons of physical gold goes missing for nobody to care. Alternatively, perhaps it means that just like the entire financial Ponzi system, which can sustain the lies only as long as everyone agress not to "defect" and admit Janet Yellen is a "naked (and very much clueless) emperor", the rot within the gold space has now shifted away purely from the commercial and central banks and is now impacting the miners and refiners. If so, anyone who owns gold is encouraged to take physical possession of it asap because if, as this incident suggests, the Chinese rehypothecation experiment has gone global, when everyone does demand their deliverable be, well, delivered, it will be too late.