Minted bars refer to the manufacturing process that is applied to create them. The process begins by heating gold material in a furnace until it turns to a molten slurry. During the heating process, all unwanted impurities in the slurry are removed until only molten gold of high purity is left, most often at around 99.99%. The molten gold is then poured into moulds, usually in the shape of large bars, where it cools and solidifies. The solid gold is then inserted into a mill that rolls the gold into panels with a uniform dimension. Afterwards, the gold panels are inserted into a blanking press that punches blanks out of the gold panels. The next step involves the weighing of each gold blank to ensure that it is neither underweight nor overweight and those that pass this test are then polished for them to obtain a shiny surface. The last stage involves the minting process where the gold blank is inserted into a minting press that presses its die with huge force to transfer the design from the die onto the gold blank. The result is a minted bar. The newly minted gold bar is then inspected before being sealed in a transparent tamper-proof protective package.
Argor-Heraeus is one of Switzerland’s and the world’s largest precious metals refineries. Argor-Heraeus is located near the Italian border, and also to the locations of two of Switzerland’s other giant precious metals refineries - Valcambi and PAMP. This refinery is jointly owned by the Austrian Mint, German industrial and precious metals group Heraeus, German commercial bank Commerzbank, and Argor-Heraeus management.
Argor-Heraeus traces its routes back to the establishment of the Argor SA refinery in 1951 in Chiasso in the Swiss Canton of Ticino. The Argor-Heraeus group employs approximately 320 people. The group’s headquarters and precious metals refinery are located in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
The Argor-Heraeus refinery in Mendrisio processes and refines gold, silver, platinum and palladium from mining sources, scrap / recyclable sources and also transforms good delivery bars into smaller bars. The refinery refines gold up to 99.99% and 99.999% purities, silver up to 99.9%, and platinum and palladium 99.95%. Argor-Heraeus’ customer base from over 50 countries, including mining companies, trading houses, bullion banks central and commercial banks, mints, jewellery and watch companies and industrial consumers.
According to its 2014 corporate responsibility report, the Argor-Heraeus refinery has an annual gold refining capacity of 350 – 400 tonnes. Like all Swiss precious metals refineries, licensed assayers (essayeurs jurés), accredited by the Swiss Central Office for Precious Metals Control, work with the Argor-Heraeus refinery to ensure that the precious metals assays of the metals output from the refinery meet the strict quality standards laid down by the Office for Precious Metals Control.
Argor-Heraeus is one of only five refinery members of the London Bullion Market Associations (LBMA) good delivery referee panel, which assists the LBMA is maintaining quality standards of refinery members worldwide. Argor-Heraeus is also a full member of the LBMA. Argor-Heraeus wholesale gold bars have been accredited as good delivery since 1961, while its silver bars have been good delivery since 1961.
Argor-Heraeus is also a member of “Association Suisse des Fabricants et Commerçants de Métaux Précieux” (ASFCMP), the Swiss Association of Precious Metals Manufacturers and Traders.
Tavex Group is official dealer of Argor-Heraeus since 2023.