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Author Topic: Origin of planchets for euro coins  (Read 1458 times)

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Offline eurocoin

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Origin of planchets for euro coins
« on: March 25, 2016, 08:56:59 AM »
The Dutch TV program "De Keuringsdienst van Waarde" yesterday had an episode about the production of euro coins. As it is a mysterious business, they wanted to find out everything about it, to make sure it doesn't stink. While the program gives an interesting look behind the scenes of a blank manufacturer and a mint, they also found out that the blanks for the euro coins are inter alia being made at the South Korean company Poongsan. Many European mints, including Royal Mint of Belgium and Royal Dutch Mint buy blanks from this manufacturer. This company however also produces munition, including cluster munition, and that's one of the reasons why mints don't want to tell where their blanks come from. Royal Dutch Mint has announced that they will no longer do any business with this company.

To watch the full episode click here (English subtitles available by clicking on this:).

Offline chrisild

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2016, 04:28:37 PM »
Have not watched it yet, but I would not really call the origin of the blanks a secret. At least around here, the manufacturer is "chosen" by a normal public tender procedure. Here are some examples regarding recent German euro coins:

http://ausschreibungen-deutschland.de/244733_Herstellung_und_Lieferung_von_1-Eurocent-Muenzronden_2015_Berlin
http://ausschreibungen-deutschland.de/244742_Herstellung_und_Lieferung_von_2-Eurocent-Muenzronden_2015_Berlin
In these two cases the company that got the job was Gurt LLC (Russia). Gurt had complained about not having been considered before ...

http://ausschreibungen-deutschland.de/243106_Herstellung_und_Lieferung_von_unedlen_Muenzronden_2015_Berlin
http://ausschreibungen-deutschland.de/247901_Herstellung_und_Lieferung_von_2-Euro-Muenzronden_2015_Berlin
In these two cases, Freiberger Eurometall GmbH and thus the Mint of Finland group won the public tender.

Interesting side note: "Our gold" is from Austria. ;)
http://ausschreibungen-deutschland.de/244214_Herstellung_und_Lieferung_von_Gold-Muenzronden_fuer_die_20-EUR-Goldmuenzen_2015_Bad_Homburg_vor_der_Hoehe

Christian

Offline Pabitra

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2016, 03:47:51 AM »
Poongsan is a fairly big blanks manufacturer and wins quite a few tenders globally.


See its site

http://www.poongsan.co.kr/eng/products/fabricated-nonferrous-material/coin-blanks/

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2016, 11:12:38 AM »
TV journalists as I know them are interested in only one thing: YOUR emotional reactions. Contrary to what they say, they are not interested in truth. They aim to shock. So it is with this report. The mint apparently has an ESG (environment, social, governance) policy in place. It is obvious that working with a cluster bomb manufacturer is not in accordance with the policy. If you or I could have told the mint so quietly, they would have investigated, found out easily and reacted the same. They can be blamed for not doing due diligence on their supplier, for going with the flow, but not for cheating or being evil.

Mark the sarcasm of the interviewers and researchers throughout the report. They desperately suggest the mint knew all the time and wanted to keep it secret. They show no understanding for security in places where money is produced (can you imagine the cost of replacing coins because hoodlums have succeeded to produce them in quantity?) They demand full access as a constitutional right and never behave as guests when received. Their only objective is to embarras. They succeed best with the Koreans, who stupidly start lying. They never apologise for eaves-dropping on them. Why should they? They are proud to be barbarians.

The report they come up with is one-sided. They do mention that producing cluster ammunition is allowed in South Korea, but condemn that as immoral in the same sentence. They never even hint that South Korea shares a border with an egomaniacal dictatorship that cannot be expected to react rationally and whose troops are positioned dangerously close to the South Korean capital. In the words of a Dutch soldier responsible for the defence of Limburg* at the time I met him: it's** just another principle to you, but it is my best chance of survival.

TV journalism, it stinks.

Peter

* An exposed province of the Netherlands: long, thin and with a somewhat one-sided North-South infrastructure.
** He was talking about land mines, but the reasoning is the same.
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2016, 11:17:37 AM »
On one hand I think it's shameful, on the other I think that this program will only damage the competitiveness of Royal Dutch Mint now they will no longer be able to buy these cheap blanks from South Korea. While also other mints (Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal), have been mentioned as being clients of Poongsan, I don't expect them to quit their business with Poongsan. As has been mentioned on this forum before, the current financial situation of Royal Dutch Mint isn't good, and I think this will only make things worse.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2016, 11:33:29 AM »
It's not as bad as that, Niels. In the report, Poongsan estimated that they have over half of the euro blanks market, but Schwermetall, the German competitor said they held about one third. That means about 20% of the market is "other suppliers". It is likely that these include mints making their own blanks. Poongsan is an important supplier, but not the only one.

Is it the cheapest? I think the answer is "it depends". Metal producers use a process called continuous casting to lower their energy cost. This process produces a steady stream of metal, independent of sales. The risk is in stock-building. If a mint wants blanks at the time stocks are high, price will be low and vice versa, independent of supplier. Having one supplier less is a risk (and the price you pay for having an ESG policy), but it's not lethal.

The way to control the risk is having a large capacity to stock yourself. Stockpiling costs money though. Since ESG is supposed to be a popular demand, it makes sense that the public (the ministry of finance) pays for its cost. I doubt they'll see it this way, though.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2016, 02:07:01 PM »
If you or I could have told the mint so quietly, they would have investigated, found out easily and reacted the same. They can be blamed for not doing due diligence on their supplier, for going with the flow, but not for cheating or being evil.

Notice the eye roll of this lady at 21:26. I think it is clear that she wasn't pleased that the journalist mentioned the connection between RDM and Poongsan.

Mark the sarcasm of the interviewers and researchers throughout the report. [...] they never behave as guests when received. Their only objective is to embarras.

Well, this annoyed me too. Their behaviour at Royal Mint of Belgium wasn't nice, to say the least.

The report they come up with is one-sided. They do mention that producing cluster ammunition is allowed in South Korea, but condemn that as immoral in the same sentence. They never even hint that South Korea shares a border with an egomaniacal dictatorship that cannot be expected to react rationally and whose troops are positioned dangerously close to the South Korean capital.

You are certainly right about that.

Offline <k>

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2016, 02:11:42 PM »
But what about Fristi? Where DOES it get its pink colour from? And do YOU drink it?

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2016, 02:25:18 PM »
Squashed red ants from Brazil. No. ;D

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2016, 07:01:04 PM »
Two MP's of the Dutch left wing party SP have sent some questions to the Dutch state secretary of Finance concerning this episode. Our Dutch members can have a look here (PDF download!).

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2016, 10:07:02 PM »
The Ministry of Finance concluded that Royal Dutch Mint hasn't breached the Convention on Cluster Munition as that convention doesn't prohibit European companies to do business with companies that produce this type of munition. Though the Ministry of Finance and the Royal Dutch Mint were also aware that this should stop and so the mint will no longer order there. The MP's that sent the first questions weren't impressed by the answers and so sent new questions (In Dutch; download link!).

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2017, 07:27:54 AM »
A few days ago a list has appeared online with countries who use Poongsan blanks:

Australia, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, India, Lithuania, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Peru, The Philippines, Slovenia, Portugal, Poland, Spain, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, United States. All clients from Poongsan..

After the episode was aired, the mints of The Netherlands and Norway have stopped doing business with Poongsan.

The organisation Stop Explosive Investments, which was involved in the making of the particular episode, has also been closely monitoring this forum and now uses the video I made without having asked permission.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2017, 11:48:12 AM »
Pressure groups are like journalists. There are the good, the bad and the ugly. The very first consideration is that they have a right to exist and express themselves. After that and especially in the days of "post-truth" and "fake news", it is important that they establish their own trustworthiness in order to be a valid partner in discussions. That's where many, if not most of them fail. Since they are almost by definition a one issue organisation, they will attract loud-mouthed radicals and those who think in an evenhanded way will be pushed aside by true believers. In that sense, I am not surprised they didn't contact you before using your material. I am surprised they didn't consider your stuff "not radical enough".

For the record: I have been on the Korean North-South border. I have been inside the air defence system that protects Seoul. I have laid flowers on the monument for the Dutch dead in the Korean war (a monument that is shamefully neglected by the Dutch government; I wonder if any of the activist knows it exists.) I have delved into the history of the region. I have some idea of land mines, their advantages and disadvantages. I am a self-confessed peacenik.

I think South Korea has the right to defend itself against North Korea. If that requires land mines (something to be determined by the South Koreans, not by a clueless bunch of people on the other side of the planet), so be it. That doesn't mean you must buy from Poongsan, but it does mean you have to think before you yell or yell into a void.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Origin of planchets for euro coins
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2017, 07:22:14 PM »
In these two cases the company that got the job was Gurt LLC (Russia).

A few days ago CoinsWeekly/MünzenWoche had an article (first published: Mint News Quarterly 4/16) about Gurt and the German 1 and 2 cent coins. http://www.coinsweekly.com/en/page/4?&id=4623  Not much news in there, but it shows once again where you may end when basically any tender results in having to pick the least expensive offer ...

Christian