Fake Gold Hits NYC: Diamond District Finds 10 Tungsten-filled Bars

Collected by Chinatungsten Online- Federal agents are investigating the peddling of bogus gold bars in Midtown.

The Post has learned as many as 10 fake gold bars — made up mostly of relatively worthless tungsten — were sold recently to unsuspecting dealers in Manhattan’s Midtown Diamond District.

The price of gold has risen more than 600 percent since January 2000, while the S&P 500 index is down 0.6 percent over the same period.

The 10-oz. gold bars are hugely popular with Main Street investors, and it is not known how many of the fake gold bars were sold to dealers — or if any fake bars were purchased by the public.

One gold dealer discovered that four of the 3-inch-by-1-inch gold bars he bought — worth about $72,000 retail — were counterfeit.

“It has the entire street on edge,” said Ibrahim Fadl, 62, who has been the owner of Express Metal Refining, a Midtown gold-refinery business, for the last 11 years. “I and the others on the street work off of trust; now that trust is strained.”

Fadl, a Columbia University graduate with a master’s degree in chemical engineering, and who has more than 40 years in the industry, purchased the four fake bars from a well-known Russian salesman with whom he has done business.

A second 47th Street refiner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was burned recently when he bought six gold bars that turned out to be mostly tungsten, with just a gold veneer. He would not comment, though, on who sold him the bogus bars.

Fadl became suspicious when he offered the salesman a deep discount for the investment-grade gold bars and he quickly accepted it, a source tells The Post.

Fadl said he did his due diligence “by X-raying the bars to ascertain the purity of the gold and weighing the bars, and the Swiss markings were perfect.”

Tungsten is an industrial metal that weighs nearly the same as gold but costs a little over $1 an ounce. Gold closed Friday at $1,774.80 an ounce.

To quell his suspicion, Fadl then drilled into the bar and discovered the tungsten — whose silver color is distinctive from gold’s bright yellow hue.

Raymond Nassim, CEO of Manfra, Tordell & Brookes, the American arm of the Swiss firm that created the original gold bars — with their serial number and purity rating stamped clearly into them — said he reported the situation to the US Secret Service, whose jurisdiction covers the counterfeiting of gold bars.

He said his company “is supporting and cooperating with authorities any way we can.”

Nassim thought the culprit must be a professionally trained jeweler to have pulled off the caper.

“The forger had to slice the original bar along the side, hollow out the gold and insert the tungsten ingot, and then reseal and polish the bar, Nassim said.

At an industry dinner Thursday night hosted by Comex, the New York-based metals exchange, the room was abuzz with talk about the bogus gold bars, according to Fadl.

 

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No Alternation in Tungsten Concentrate Prices Temporarily

With the coming of New Year vocation, the atmosphere of wait-and-see becomes stronger. Today, mainstream 65% tungsten concentrate price based on Ganzhou, Hunan focuses on ¥112,000.00-115,000.00/mt, scheelite concentrate quotation based on Hunan is ¥110.000.00-114.000.00/mt. The manufacturers from downstream almost stop enquiry, and some tungsten concentrate suppliers stop quotation either.

From the perspectives of Chinatungsten Online, with increasing rain and snow weather in the Chinese Mainland, no matter upstream or downstream, market activities reduces relatively. Constantly weak price of tungsten concentrate make suppliers lose their confidence that they have to get cash through accepting low transaction prices. It is also hard to improve the situation of imbalance between supply and demand since tungsten suppliers chose to stock up goods in the early days. Chinatungsten Online expects, tungsten products price and tungsten concentrate price will keep steady at the low level and will improve relatively after New Year vocation.

 

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Scrap Tungsten Price Keeps Steady Continuously before New Year

The mainstream scrap tungsten price maintains steady. The transaction price excluding tax of domestic blade is ¥171.00-¥174.00/kg; imported blade is ¥181-183/kg; scrap tungsten bit still concentrates on ¥187.00-¥190.00/kg scrap pure tungsten block is ¥208.00-¥213.00/kg.

The price of the content of scrap tungsten grinding material which is more than 70W is ¥1.70 per kilogram tungsten, 50W-70W is ¥1.60 per kilogram tungsten, 30W-40W is ¥1.40 per kilogram tungsten, 10-20W is ¥0.80 per kilogram tungsten while 8W-10W is ¥0.70 per kilogram tungsten, which keep steady constantly.

The trend of downward in tungsten concentrate price becomes obviously, although tungsten suppliers are more willing to ship, real demand seems no improvement relatively. Under the support of short resource, scrap tungsten steel prices has been hold relatively, but small transaction volume has been realized. Scrap tungsten suppliers’ attitude becomes more cautious and more willing to wait and see. Tungsten traders feel no enthusiasm toward the scrap tungsten market, therefore trading operations are in active as well. Chinatungsten Online predicts scrap tungsten prices will keep steady generally but falling feebly.

 

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Tungsten Ore Market Move Forward in Weak Level

Core tips: Tungsten ore market is weak currently, the situation of oversupply is hard to ease; demand of ammonium paratungstate keeps low while ferro tungsten price goes down slightly to ¥173,000.00, the highest price could reach ¥180,000.00.

The situation of tungsten market: Tungsten ore market is weak currently, the situation of oversupply is hard to ease; demand of ammonium paratungstate keeps low while ferro tungsten price goes down slightly to ¥173,000.00, the highest price could reach ¥180,000.00. Likewise, the prices of tungsten carbide powder is easing as well, high level quotation is few. The tungsten concentrate and scrap tungsten steel prices moved down slightly in the recent days, but most of the consumers mainly consumed the stocks and were still inactive in purchasing materials. Chinatungsten Online forecasts tungsten metal market remains sluggish as New Year vocation is coming. 

 

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Tungsten Metal Market Shows its Downward Trend

Core tips: Tungsten ore market is weak currently, individual tungsten products reduce gradually.

The situation of tungsten market:Tungsten ore market is weak currently, individual tungsten products reduce gradually. Many sodium tungstate traders can accept ¥129,000.00/mt. While ferro tungsten quotation falls into chaos that maintains between ¥175,000.00-180,000.00/mt, the lowest could be ¥172,000.00/mt. Likewise, the prices of tungsten carbide powder is easing as well, high level quotation is few. The tungsten concentrate and APT prices moved down slightly in the recent days, but most of the consumers mainly consumed the stocks and were still inactive in purchasing materials. Therefore, the tungsten metal prices do not fluctuate with the decreasing raw materials prices. Tungsten metal market remains sluggish.

 

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Negative Attitude in Tungsten Concentrate Market

Currently, domestic tungsten concentrate prices remain steady. Today, mainstream 65% tungsten concentrate price based on Ganzhou focuses on ¥112,000.00-115,000.00/mt, more than 60% scheelite concentrate quotation based on Hunan is ¥110.000.00-114.000.00/mt.Generally, the transaction volume is unsatisfied and most end users choose to wait and see.

From the perspectives of Chinatungsten Online, a glut of tungsten concentrate leads to low quotation that many tungsten suppliers have to get cash through accepting low transaction prices. In the end of year, the demand and supply situation may be even weaker in the tungsten concentrate market.Chinatungsten Online expects, tungsten products price and tungsten concentrate price will keep steady at the low level.

 

Tungsten Manufacturer & Supplier: Chinatungsten Online - http://www.chinatungsten.com
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Tragedy Attitude Spreads out in Scrap Tungsten Market

The mainstream scrap tungsten price maintains steady. The transaction price excluding tax of domestic blade is ¥171.00-¥174.00/kg; imported blade is ¥181-183/kg; scrap tungsten bit still concentrates on ¥187.00-¥190.00/kg scrap pure tungsten block is ¥208.00-¥213.00/kg.

The price of the content of scrap tungsten grinding material which is more than 70W is ¥1.70 per kilogram tungsten, 50W-70W is ¥1.60 per kilogram tungsten, 30W-40W is ¥1.40 per kilogram tungsten, 10-20W is ¥0.80 per kilogram tungsten while 8W-10W is ¥0.70 per kilogram tungsten, which keep steady constantly.

The trend of downward becomes obviously in tungsten concentrate market, quotation from traders goes lower one after another and more tungsten suppliers are willing to ship. Under the support of short resource, scrap tungsten prices has been hold relatively, but small transaction volume has been realized. Scrap tungsten suppliers’ attitude becomes more cautious and more willing to wait and see. Chinatungsten Online predicts scrap tungsten prices will keep steady generally but falling feebly.

 

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Expansion for Tungsten Alloyed producer in Germany

Plansee Composite Materials opened its new production hall in Lechbruck, Germany, December 6. The company stated that the development will allow it to meet the high demand for high-precision components for tungsten alloyed products and medical technology.

Plansee Composite Materials is a centre of expertise for tungsten alloyed materials as well as for metallic and ceramic composite materials. The site also produces sputtering targets for the coating industry, collimators for medical technology applications and balancing weights for the automotive industry. A team of specialist employees, engineers and materials scientists cooperates closely with customers from all parts of the world to develop and manufacture a range of powder metallurgical components.

 

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Almonty’s CEO Talks Tungsten and the Eurozone Crisis

Colleted by Chinatungsten Online-Spain is home to Almonty Industries‘ (TSXV:AII) Los Santos project, one of the only producing tungsten mines in the western world. Spain is also now center stage in the Eurozone crisis. The world is waiting to see whether its government will request a bailout, which some insist is necessary to help the country lower its borrowing costs to sustainable rates. Inquiring minds may wonder what impact conditions in Europe are having on the business of producing and selling a rare metal like tungsten. Almonty’s CEO, Lewis Black, provided Tungsten Investing News with some insight.

While it operates in Europe, Almonty is not directly exposed to market conditions there. The company exports all of its tungsten to North America, a market that Black says has held up well. Still, the company does not exist in a bubble and therefore has not been able to completely insulate itself against the region’s crisis.

“No one wants to carry [tungsten] inventory given the uncertainty in Europe,” Black said, outlining the first effect the company has noted. “Consumers only buy what they need and they are working down the inventories that they have. Understand that this is not based on fundamentals, but purely on uncertainty.”

Some may find that surprising as many consumers have been pushing to secure access to supply outside of China.

I will probably get shot for saying this, but there is very little partnership between consumers and producers in the tungsten business,” said Black.

“Consumers’ primary concern is to keep their costs low, and they operate with no real regard for what will happen to the producers. Consumers feel that they can always get a bit [of tungsten] here and bit there and for years they have been. Now, I really don’t understand it because the quantity and quality of that supply is dwindling, but this is how they operate. So the producers have a tough time, no doubt about it.”

Another effect, according to Black, is that everything costs more.

“Costs are up 20 to 25 percent over five years ago, but the lead times are double. You have to be more creative in obtaining heavy equipment because it seems manufacturers would rather work for more money over longer periods.”

Black explained that manufacturers have reduced staff on their assembly lines and have outsourced those jobs. The companies that they have outsourced to are generally smaller. In Europe, small and mid-sized businesses have no access to credit; that slows down production times because many can’t keep large supplies of simple components, such as rubber seals. And given the broader sense of uncertainty, companies with the cash, like everyone else, aren’t prone to risk tying it up in inventory.

One solution to this problem that Almonty has found is to turn to the “thriving second-hand market” for equipment.

“We have always been creative in getting things done. We built Los Santos on a shoestring. We had less than a quarter million dollars and no credit,” Black said.

During the Eurozone crisis, much emphasis has been placed on the strength of the region’s banks and the possibility that the euro may not be able to survive. Black does not believe in risking the farm, so Almonty has taken precautions to protect against worst-case scenarios.

The company has moved all its accounts out of Spanish banks. It was able to do so with no obstacles because it made moves at the end of 2011.

“There were already rumblings about Spanish banks back then. We left the party before the parents got home, so to speak,” said Black.

He said hedging does not make sense for the company. It invoices in dollars and converts into euros only the sums needed to cover accounts payable.

“Honestly, we don’t understand how the euro has held up as well as it has. They say the market is never wrong, but it makes absolutely no sense for the euro to be as high as it is.”

On Wednesday the euro got stronger, reaching a one-month high against the dollar. Equity markets also moved higher, partly because Moody’s decided not to downgrade Spain’s credit rating to junk status, but largely on speculation that the country’s officials are moving closer to finalizing the request for a bailout.

Whether or not the country actually makes this request may be important in some circles, but not for Almonty and not for tungsten.

“I truly do not believe Spain is a risk country,” Black said. “The Spanish are creative and resilient people. They are very smart people. I have absolute confidence they will get it together. It’s not going to be easy or pretty. But they are proud people and they will not allow themselves to fail and certainly not to fail in the eyes of the world.”

“Even if something were to happen with the euro or somebody leaves the union, Europe is still going to be there. Tungsten is still a global material,” said Black.

“We are likely to see this hand-to-mouth policy among consumers for the rest of the year. Then we expect that they will start to rebuild inventories in the first quarter of 2013.”

He also insisted that the conditions in Spain and the Eurozone crisis overall will not have any impact on the company’s decisions for future investment in the region as long as the company has access to the right people for any project that it might consider.

“Europe has some of the best skilled technical people in the world. Spain and Portugal have always been supportive of mining. And we would always be interested in pursuing projects in any place that supports mining,” Black said.

That then leads to the question of investors’ confidence. Do investors continue to value Almonty as one of the few tungsten plays outside of China, or are they heaping the company into the larger EU risk basket?

“Our investors appreciate that we are not exposed to Europe, as far as where our material goes,” Black said. “I don’t think they view us through the risk of Europe. And I don’t think they look at the country we operate in. They just want to see us do what we told them we would do. If we can’t deliver on our promises, then we have problems.”

 

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Reviving Tungsten – Interview with EMC Metals

Colleted by Chinatunsten Online-Tungsten watchers know that tungsten (APT) prices have shown considerable volatility over the last 24 months, which makes 2013′s long-term decisions regarding new tungsten projects all the more challenging. Still, tungsten remains a valuable and critical metal, and several juniors are ploughing ahead with their exploration projects.

EMC Springer Overview

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