Police to probe missing gold at mint

Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:11pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police will investigate why the Royal Canadian Mint seems to have lost some of its gold and other precious metals, the government said on Tuesday.

Media reports say more than C$10 million ($9.1 million) in gold and other assets are missing. Ottawa acted after it learned that an independent audit of the mint was not going to be able to solve the mystery.

"I have instructed the mint to call in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to (do) a full investigation," junior government minister Rob Merrifield told reporters, declining to say how much was missing.

Opposition politicians said the incident showed the minority Conservative government was hopelessly incompetent.

"If they can't even hold on to the gold in the mint, what are they capable of doing?" asked New Democrat legislator Thomas Mulcair.

The mint says its plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba, produces over one billion circulation coins each year. It also says its vaults are "an exceptionally secure facility."

($1=$1.10 Canadian)

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>Gold bars are displayed in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant Oegussa in Vienna June 2, 2009. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger</p>