In May, Switzerland imported gold from Russia for the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine. It would be 3.1 tons of gold, with a value of 200 million dollars, according to news agencies Bloomberg and Reuters.

The more than 3 tons of gold at would be destined for refining and processing,according to Swiss customs. The country is therefore the world’s largest refining and Transit Center for the precious metal.

The Russian gold that Switzerland imported in May would account for 2 to 3 percent of total gold imports, according to customs data. In the 12 months to February, Switzerland would have imported on average about 2 tons of gold per month from Russia.

The four largest gold refineries in Switzerland – MKS PAMP, Metalor Technologies, Argor-Heraeus and Valcambi – collectively process two thirds of all gold in the world. But they all say they didn’t take the metal, Bloomberg said.

Robin Kolvenbach, chief executive of Argor-Heraeus said earlier this month that his company has not accepted gold from Russian sellers since February 24. Argor-Heraeus had also previously stated that it would accept Russian-made products if they were manufactured before 2022 and if it could be proved through documents that no Russian person or entity had a financial advantage from them.

Despite the announcement of gold imports, Switzerland is far from taking a neutral or pro-Russian position in the conflict in Ukraine. In March, it froze some 5.75 billion Swiss francs (5.62 billion euros) of Russian assets. And in april, the country banned the import of Russian lignite and coal, and other products such as caviar, wood and seafood.

Russia has been expanding its gold production for years. The country could itself become the largest producer of gold in the world this decade, thereby overtaking China. In 2020, the country produced 11.3 million ounces per year. By 2030, that would be up to 15.5 million ounces, according to credit rating agency Finch Ratings.

Western financial sanctions against Russia have boosted gold production.

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