The voluntary LBMA Proficiency Testing Scheme is designed for all GDL gold refiners to help improve their assaying accuracy against a large group of their peers.

It is generally expected that refiners' laboratories will already be using well-established, validated methods of assaying, as well as their own quality control procedures. Proficiency Testing (PT) provides an important layer of external quality control to help validate these internal procedures.

48 LBMA accredited gold refiners participated in the fifth annual Proficiency Testing Scheme in 2016. In addition, 15 non-Good Delivery companies were also given the opportunity to participate for the second time. This provided an excellent consensus for the scheme; the more that participate, the more robust the results.

How does PT differ from Proactive Monitoring?

  • PT is voluntary, whereas PAM is mandatory for all currently accredited refiners.
  • PT is run annually, whereas the PAM is run over a three-year cycle.
  • PT involves a refiner’s laboratory assaying a single piece of gold and submitting the results not to the LBMA, but to the facilitator – in this case FAPAS. PAM goes wider than just assay testing: it involves production and financial tests.
  • PT is anonymous. The LBMA does not receive any information on the identity of the labs participating in the scheme. FAPAS assign a code to each lab, and only each individual participant knows their code but not those of the other participants.
  • PT results are published in a report. Whilst the identities of each lab are kept anonymous, it does give an opportunity for each participant to compare their results against those of the other participants involved in the scheme.
  • PT is really designed for participants to test the assay in their normal testing environment, i.e. it is not expected that they do anything that they wouldn’t normally do. With PAM, however, it is expected that labs would make extra special efforts to achieve assaying accuracy.
  • PT is confined to gold at the moment, whereas PAM extends to both gold and silver.

Jonathan Jodry delivered a presentation on the 2015 Proficiency Testing Scheme at biennial Assay and Refining Conference on 9-10 March, 2015. His presentation, together with the all the others delivered at the Conference are available on the the LBMA website here.

If any GDL gold refiners would like to participate in the Scheme please contact the LBMA.

There is a possibility of extending the scheme in the future to include GDL silver refiners.