Author Topic: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles  (Read 2632 times)

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Offline Bimat

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Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« on: August 16, 2016, 04:21:12 PM »
Mint cuts jobs as coin use tumbles

August 16, 2016

Norway’s national mint, Det Norske Myntverket, has sent out warnings that it must cut costs and, most likely, jobs. Fewer Norwegians are using cash, especially the coins that the mint has produced for centuries.

Employees were called in to a meeting on Monday, at which they were told that the rising popularity of electronic payment systems may leave them out of work. Norwegian authorities have also actively been promoting electronic payment, not least the tax authorities that want to wipe out country’s underground economy. They want all payments to go through the country’s widespread electronic banking system, so that all transactions would be registered.

A report compiled for national employers’ organization NHO last year concluded that cash transactions in the travel business now make up only 18 percent of the total, down from 40 percent just five years ago. Withdrawals from Norwegian minibanks (automated teller machines) have declined every year since 2007, with transactions in 2014 down 17 percent from the year before.

While some officials are predicting that Norway will become a cashless society by the mid-2020s, others claim some form of cash will survive. The national mint in Kongsberg, home of the historic silver mines that once provided a key source of wealth and precious metal for coins, is nonetheless feeling the pinch.

“Coin production for Norges Bank (Norway’s central bank) is falling rapidly, and the orders we’re getting are considerably fewer,” Kjell Wessel, mint master and chief executive of Myntverket, told Norwegian Broadcastig (NRK).

Myntverket is one of the oldest businesses in Norway, founded in 1686. The company produces all Norwegian coins currently in circulation, and also produces the gold medal awarded as part of the annual Nobel Peace Prize.

Wessel said there’s also been a decline in demand for medals made of precious metals. Norway has cut back on its production of commemorative coins as well.

Employees at the mint are seriously concerned, especially since Kongsberg has been hit hard by job losses tied to the offshore and engineering industries. “It can be difficult to find another job in the market here now,” employees’ representative Espen Hægh told NRK.

The mint’s board reportedly wants to eliminate nearly half the mint’s 16 full-time positions at present, to just nine. Sweden has already shut down its mint, and Denmark plans to cease coin production after New Year.

Source: News In English.No
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2016, 05:20:28 PM »
This is very sad news :( In 2014, Mint of Norway made a loss of 1.3 million euros.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 05:40:24 PM by Niels »

Offline Bimat

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Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2016, 06:06:06 AM »
I think the pattern is very clear: It is no longer affordable to run a mint in most of the countries; unless the government is pumping money into it. Wonder which mint will follow Norway now? Perhaps the Belgian mint?

Aditya
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2016, 09:14:02 AM »
I think the pattern is very clear: It is no longer affordable to run a mint in most of the countries; unless the government is pumping money into it. Wonder which mint will follow Norway now? Perhaps the Belgian mint?

Aditya

Royal Mint of Belgium is the parasite amongst the European mints, only reason it is still alive is the tons of money that the government pumps into it. The commercial director of Royal Dutch Mint has recently mentioned on a Dutch radio channel that the Royal Mint of Belgium at present doesn't really have any perspective for the future as they don't innovate (R&D). RMB also only produces circulating coins for Belgium and only a few collectors coins for other countries. There is no way that the mint will survive if it ever has to stand on its own legs but as long as the government pumps money into it, of course there is no problem.

Offline Bimat

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Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2016, 09:45:11 AM »
Royal Mint of Belgium is the parasite amongst the European mints, only reason it is still alive is the tons of money that the government pumps into it. The commercial director of Royal Dutch Mint has recently mentioned on a Dutch radio channel that the Royal Mint of Belgium at present doesn't really have any perspective for the future as they don't innovate (R&D). RMB also only produces circulating coins for Belgium and only a few collectors coins for other countries. There is no way that the mint will survive if it ever has to stand on its own legs but as long as the government pumps money into it, of course there is no problem.

What about the Greek mint?

Aditya
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2016, 11:20:48 AM »
There is no doubt that within the euro area, there is a huge overcapacity. No single mint can survive until a large number of other mints have given up, unless they can haul in orders from abroad. To me, the greatest sinner is Germany, with four mints, by and large the greatest polluter of the field. BTW, there is no law that says only big country mints can survive. The key is not in circulation strikes, but in fluff. Commercially aggressive mints from small countries have about as much chance as big, bureaucratic mints.

A different and longer term question is if any European mint can remain competitive in the long run. Branches of industry such as textiles and shipbuilding have already virtually disappeared from the continent, because of production cost. Should coin minting disappear also? My impression is that the actual minting is better done in a low cost country (low wage, energy and transportation cost), while quality control and design could well be kept in Europe. That would create a race for quality in developing countries and tension over quality between buyers and suppliers.

For both questions, the answer is not subsidies. That's the disastrous route that was chosen for agricultural products. It perpetuates the problem, entrenches vested interests and solves nothing. The answer is also not letting coin collectors and naive retail investors pay. There is a limit to what they will buy in the name of "completeness" or "getting rich quickly". The answer is a gradual process, weaning one country after another away from their national pride, while cheap facilities replace them. The model is national airlines. Norway is going that way. My guess is that the last to adjust and adapt will be the French and UK mints, as they can tax the ignorance of their former colonies a while longer.

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

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2016, 01:29:22 PM »
What about the Greek mint?

Aditya

Greek mint is a very closed mint, so I don't have much information about that one. A blank manufacturer in Greece had to close as there were not enough orders for coin blanks so.. Thinking about mints that are struggling, we don't need to forget Pobjoy Mint which now no longer produces circulating coins and has lost their main client for collectors coins.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2016, 12:00:35 PM »
The Ministry of Finance of Belgium is currently considering what to do with Royal Mint of Belgium.

According to a report of the Dutch company Boer & Croon Corporate Finance, production of coins for Norway has been taken over by Mint of Finland.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2016, 04:20:40 PM »
To me, the greatest sinner is Germany, with four mints, by and large the greatest polluter of the field.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as "national" mints here in Germany. Leaving private companies such as the Mayer Mint aside, we have four state-owned and state-operated mints: in Baden-Württemberg (with two minting locations/facilities), Bavaria, Berlin, and Hamburg. Would be tough for the federal government to pick one or several of these state mints and decide "you will no longer make coins for us", as that might affect the feds-states balance ...

So it is the four state governments that decide whether their mints are profitable and should continue to operate or not. And if, say, the mint in Munich makes a loss, then it is up to the Bavarian taxpayers to compensate (or otherwise deal with) that. No need for a pan-European or global master plan. ;)

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2016, 06:54:31 PM »
I am sure this is a valid short-term political argument. However, the obvious counter-argument is: so close all mints at the same time. No political discrimination and there is so much overcapacity in the EU that your coins can probably be produced cheaper elsewhere, so tax payers save twice. This argument (I am not advocating this course of action) shows how in the long run, German coin production does have an influence on coin production elsewhere in the EU, especially in a shrinking market, with production caps being decided administratively, therefore with a lag, to put it kindly.

In practical, but anecdotal terms: family members and me are going through their change regularly to find stuff for my collection. Both in the Netherlands and in France, German coins dominate in circulation, with France coming in second place in France and Spain a good third in France, second in the Netherlands. The French are not beginners when it comes to funny financing and subsidising of state enterprises, but their pockets are not as deep as German pockets. So who should win this competitive race? The richest or the most efficient?

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

Offline chrisild

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2016, 11:36:23 PM »
Such questions make sense when it comes to euro paper money, as issuing notes is the job of the ECB or rather the Eurosystem. We did have plans to start a system based on tenders, but very quickly some euro countries were against that. So with few exceptions, the national central banks still give the printing jobs to domestic (even "in-house") printers ...

Issuing coins, however, is not an ECB/Eurosystem task but a responsibility of the member state governments. Now if one of those governments decides that the mint which so far has got the minting job should be closed (or should no longer get the job), then that is this one government's business and decision.

In other words, once we have a fully operational tender system for products that actually are issued by the Eurosystem, we can start thinking about moving the coin related competences. Fat chance. ;)

However, the fewer coins are used and thus needed, the less relevant it will be where those coins come from. Guess that in Germany cash will continue to play a fairly important role, but that is different in some other European countries. And that is also where we get back to Norway: People do not use cash like they did a few decades ago, so this is not a question of making the production in Kongsberg a little more efficient. Its products are just not really needed much any more.

Christian

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2017, 01:51:31 PM »
Mint of Chile is also on the verge of bankruptcy..

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2019, 06:27:59 PM »
I was disappointed to recently learn that Ingrid Austlid Rise, chief engraver at Mint of Norway, after 31 years also lost her job. It is sad that this has happened to this mint. For years I have had good contacts with the mint and its mintmaster who, as far as I know, is the only mintmaster in the world with a passion for numismatics.

The government of Noway also no longer wanted to issue collectors coins. Mint of Norway's owner Samlerhuset held a petition against that which as far as I know was to no avail.

Offline redlock

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2019, 07:43:42 PM »
The government of Noway also no longer wanted to issue collectors coins.

Do you mean the 10 kr and 20 kroner circulation commemorative coins that have been issued during the last couple of years.
Could the 20kr ''Gustav Vigeland'' (to be issued 10-Apr-2019) be the last cc coin from Norway?

Offline chrisild

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Re: Norway: National Mint Cuts Jobs as Use of Coins Tumbles
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2019, 08:06:24 PM »
As Mr Bond once put it: Never say never again ...

Besides, the government seems to differentiate. There are "special edition circulation coins" (which in the euro area would be called commemorative coins), usually base metal - and there are "jubilee and commemorative coins" (in euro lingo: collector coins), usually silver or gold. Maybe the 10/20 kr issues will be continued?

By the way, I liked that typo in eurocoin's post - the "government of Noway" ;D

Christian