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What does "LBMA approved" mean for gold bars?

Introduction

What is the LBMA?

(LBMA) London Bullion Market Association is an international trade association responsible for setting up standards in the global bullion market. Its members include traders, refiners, producers, miners, and storage and secure carrier services. The LBMA is responsible for gold and silver bullion standards, including how precious metals must be refined and traded. It is also accountable for Good Delivery accreditations and maintaining a Good Delivery List.

What is an LBMA approved refiner/manufacturer?

The LBMA has maintained a Good Delivery List since 1987. The list comprises gold and silver refiners recognised to produce gold bars to certain standards. LBMA accredited refiners include Metalor, Argor-Heraeus, PAMP, Umicore or Valcambi.

A gold or silver refinery accredited by the LBMA is a refinery that meets stringent acceptance criteria in producing its gold bars. Such refineries are eligible to make Good Delivery bars. Additionally, LBMA approved refiners must implement the Responsible Gold Guidance from the LBMA, requiring them to source metal responsibly. Historically, the Good Delivery List was known as the List of Acceptable Melters and Assayers.

Good Delivery bars vs LBMA gold bars


The term "LBMA gold bar" does not have to be confounded with "Good Delivery gold bars", which corresponds to gold bars weighing around 400-ounces (12.5 kg). Good Delivery bars, also known as "large" or "market" bars, are manufactured to conform to strict specifications set in the Good Delivery Rules. Such bars are shipped to approved vaults in London and then freely traded between institutions within the market.

The London Good Delivery standard is universally acknowledged as the de facto international benchmark for the quality of large gold and silver bars. With such criteria, the LBMA aims to standardise the quality of the gold bars being traded and stored in the global market. Bars must satisfy high purity, quality, and physical appearance standards. Below is a summary of the criteria required for a gold bar to be qualified as Good Delivery:

Net Weight (Fine Gold Content): approximatively 400 troy ounces.
Shape: ingot shaped (trapezoidal).
Appearance:
Should contain as few irregularities as possible, such as cavities, cracks or holes (especially on the top surface).
The sides and bottom surface should be flat and reasonably smooth.
Marks:
Stamp of the refiner
Assay Mark
Fineness (to four significant digits)
Serial Number
Weight (including the unit of weight)
The Good Delivery Standards include more precise requirements, such as expected bar dimensions, weighting and casting method. More details about those can be found in the pdf document "Good Delivery List Rules: Conditions for Listing for Good Delivery Refiners" under the LBMA website.

What is an LBMA gold bar, then?


An LBMA gold bar is simply a gold bar manufactured by a refiner listed in the Good Delivery list (= LBMA approved refiner). Therefore, an LBMA gold bar is a bullion bar manufactured with the same quality standards as a Good Delivery bar.

Source:

Gerrads Bullion

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