May 17, 2020

Barclays Busted with $44 Million Fine over Gold Pricing Fix

gold price fixing
Daniel James Plunkett
2 min
Barclays Busted with $44 Million Fine over Gold Pricing Fix
Barclays has been slapped with a £26 million($43.8 million) fine by a British financial regulator after allowing a trader to manipulate gold price...

Barclays has been slapped with a £26 million ($43.8 million) fine by a British financial regulator after allowing a trader to manipulate gold prices at the expense of a customer. The fine comes exactly one day after the bank was fined for rigging Libor interest rates in 2012.

Financial Conduct Authority, the regular who issued the fine, said Barclay failed to “adequately manage conflicts of interest between itself and its customers as well as systems and controls failing, in relation to the gold fixing” between 2004 and 2013.

The FCA also fined the former Barclays trader, Daniel James Plunkett, and barred him from participating in any regulated financial activity. The FCA said Plunkett profited at the expense of a customer, who was later fully compensated by Barclays.

"A firm's lack of controls and a trader's disregard for a customer's interests have allowed the financial services industry's reputation to be sullied again," said Tracey McDermott, the FCA's director of enforcement and financial crime.

“Traders who might be tempted to exploit their clients for a quick buck should be in no doubt – such behaviour will cost you your reputation and your livelihood.”

According to FCA reports, Plunkett sent an email on June 28 to commodities colleagues saying that he was hoping for a “mini puke” the following day. Plunkett reportedly fixed the price in order to avoid the payment of $3.9 million to a customer under an option, which helped advance his own trading book by $1.75 million.

The incident occurred on June 28, 2012, a day after UK and U.S. regulators fined the company $450 million over attempted Libor rigging.

"Plunkett's actions came the day after the publication of our Libor and Euribor action against Barclays. The investigation and outcomes in that case meant that the firm, and Plunkett, were clearly on notice of the potential for conflicts of interests around benchmarks," McDermott said.

Barclays Chief Executive Anthony Jenkins is working to restore the bank’s bad reputation after a series of scandals and criticism in recent years.

“We very much regret the situation that led to this settlement,” Jenkins said in a statement. “Barclays has undertaken a significant amount of work to enhance our systems and controls and is committed to the highest standards across all of our operations.”

Barclays is the first bank to be fined over attempted manipulation of the 95-year old London gold market daily fix. 

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Jun 29, 2021

Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations

battery metals
2 min
Vale’s $150mn investment in operations at Thompson, Manitoba will extend mine life by 10 years

Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.

Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel

The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.

“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.

“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”

Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba

Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.

“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.

“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”

The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history.  Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.

“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.

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