By Heinz-Peter Bader
Remember the James Bond film Goldfinger and how the characters handled the gold bars without even thinking of their weight? Each gold bar at Fort Knox weighs about 12 kilos (24 pounds), as much as six six-packs of beer. But they could certainly buy you a lot more Champagne!
I witnessed gold bar production at Austria’s Oegussa company. A one kilo (two pound) gold bar is only about the size of a small mobile phone. It was impressive to hold something of so much value – as of November 15, each of the Oegussa 1 kilo gold bars would sell for 43,854 euros ($61,264).
The other side of the coin (or should I say gold bar) is where the plain gold comes from. All kinds of golden rings, bracelets, and necklaces are poured into the furnace, melting together and leaving no trace of the private stories behind the former jewellery.
The resulting massive block of gold, yet still slightly contaminated by other substances, is the base for a complex process to gain 999.9 pure gold granules eventually. They look like tiny nuggets, before they are melted a last time to be poured into molds to reach the final gold bar shape.
A couple of advertising-style photos completed my story. Too bad, I couldn’t take a “sample” home, a very, very tiny bit only, maybe…? Just kidding.