India eases gold import rule in surprise move

May 27, 2016

India has scrapped a rule mandating traders to export 20 percent of all gold imported into the country, in a surprise move that could cut smuggling and raise legal shipments into the world’s second-biggest consumer of the metal after China.

Along with a record duty of 10 percent, India introduced the so-called 80:20 import rule tying imports to exports of jewellery last year to bring down inbound shipments and narrow the current account deficit that had hit a record.

“It has been decided by the Government of India to withdraw the 20:80 scheme and restrictions placed on import of gold,” the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Friday, without giving a reason for the change in the rule.

Only days ago there were talks between officials of the Mumbai-based central bank and the finance ministry in New Delhi to bring back curbs on some trading houses following a surge in imports over the past few months.

Traders said before the decision on Friday that India’s gold imports could climb to around 100 tonnes for a third straight month in November as dealers bought heavily on fears of curbs on overseas purchases, especially as the wedding season picks up.

But the government’s latest move came as a surprise even to some officials.

A policymaker associated with India’s gold import policy said the government instructed the RBI at 1830 local time on Friday to urgently change the rule. A notification was posted on the central bank’s website two hours later.

“We were not informed about the reason for scrapping this rule. The restrictions on who all can import who can’t are still valid,” said the policymaker, declining to be named as he is not authorised to talk to media.

The rule change, however, was a relief to jewellers facing difficulties in sourcing gold during the key festival and wedding season that started in October.

Bachhraj Bamalwa, director of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, said the 80:20 rule was not only encouraging smuggling but was also misused by many traders.

From getting human mules to swallow nuggets to hiding gold bars in dead cows, smugglers had raised their activity since the middle of last year after the import curbs.

Following the disbanding of the 80:20 rule, the government may place a monthly or yearly quota for traders, said Sudheesh Nambiath, a senior analyst at consultancy Thomson Reuters GFMS.

“Quota is a more logical and simple way of monitoring and limiting gold imports,” Nambiath said.

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Strange News: Feces contains gold worth millions

May 27, 2016

Washington (AFP) – Human feces contains gold and other precious metals that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, experts say.

Now the trick is how to retrieve them — a potential windfall that could also help save the planet.

“The gold we found was at the level of a minimal mineral deposit,” said Kathleen Smith, of the US Geological Survey, after her team discovered metals such as platinum, silver and gold in treated waste.

A recent study by another group of experts in the field found that waste from one million Americans could contain as much as $13 million worth of metals.

Finding a way to extract the metals could help the environment by cutting down on the need for mining and reducing unwanted release of metals into the environment.

“If you can get rid of some of the nuisance metals that currently limit how much of these biosolids we can use on fields and forests, and at the same time recover valuable metals and other elements, that’s a win-win,” said Smith.

“There are metals everywhere — in your hair care products, detergents, even nanoparticles that are put in socks to prevent bad odors.”

More than seven million tons of biosolids come out of US wastewater facilities each year: about half is used as fertilizer on fields and in forests and the other half is incinerated or sent to landfills.

Smith and her team are on a mission to find out exactly what is in our waste.

“We have a two-pronged approach,” said Smith. “In one part of the study, we are looking at removing some regulated metals from the biosolids that limit their use for land application.

“In the other part of the project, we’re interested in collecting valuable metals that could be sold, including 嘉盛外汇 some of the more technologically important metals, such as vanadium and copper that are in cell phones, computers and alloys.”

The findings were presented at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, taking place in Denver through Thursday.

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