It is incorrect to say that Switzerland is the world’s gold hub – and if we take gold of doubtful origin into account, this statement is even less true.
Out of the 2’404 tonnes of gold imported into Switzerland in 2017, and the 2’250 tonnes in 2018 and 2’100 tonnes in 2019 respectively, the majority of this volume was not mined gold, but imports of gold ingots that had already been refined or banking products (in the form of standard bars, ingots, pellets) from banks who requested that they be stored in Switzerland or from LBMA members. There is also industrial waste and other recycled products.
Gold from banking products constitutes around 1200 tonnes per year, since Switzerland processes 80% of the gold LBMA.
In reality, only 14% (or 490 tonnes on average per year) of global mined gold is refined in Switzerland according to the LBMA’s statistics, this clearly indicates that Switzerland is not the world’s gold hub, as is often incorrectly assumed.
It is also an extremely competitive field: There are 70 refiners worldwide, versus just five or so in Switzerland.
The majority of Swiss refiners have taken care to restrict themselves to reliable sources, the origin of which can be traced.