Proficiency Testing Scheme

Proficiency Testing is an anonymous, voluntary scheme open to GDL and non-GDL refiners.

It is generally expected that refiners' laboratories will already be using well-established and 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.

View a presentation made by Jonathan Jodry on the Proficiency Testing Scheme at the most recent Assay and Refining Conference held on 20-21 March, 2017. His presentation is available here.

The sixth annual Proficiency Testing (PT) Scheme in 2017 also included silver for the first time.

2017 Participants:
58 LBMA accredited Good Delivery gold and silver refiners (33 gold and silver, 13 gold only and 12 silver only).
10 Non-Good Delivery refiners (including 7 participating in both gold and silver).

The large number of participants again provided an excellent consensus for the scheme: the more that participate, the more robust the results.

Comparison of Proficiency Testing with the Proactive Monitoring Scheme:

Proficiency Testing Proactive Monitoring (PAM)
Open to Good Delivery and Non-Good Delivery refiners and other assaying labs Only for currently accredited Good Delivery refiners
Annual scheme Three-year cycle
Single piece of gold is assayed and results submitted to the facilitator FAPAS. Broader scope than assay testing alone, it also includes production and financial assessments.
Anonymous – the facilitator FAPAS receives the data from each participant and assigns them a code. This code is only shared with the individual participant and not with the other participants or with the LBMA so all companies remain anonymous. The PAM scheme is an assessment programme run directly between the LBMA and the Good Delivery refiner and is therefore not anonymised. Where the process involves third-party testing of dip samples by the LBMA’s referees, the participant’s identity is anonymised and individual samples assigned a code.
Results are published in an annual report using the lab’s assigned codes only. This provides all participants with the opportunity to compare their results against the others involved in the scheme. Results of PAM are reported back confidentially to the individual refiner only.
Participants conduct their assay tests under normal conditions (i.e. it is not expected that they do anything that they wouldn’t normally do). Under PAM, labs are expected to make extra special efforts to achieve assaying accuracy