Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Mystique of the Royal Australian Mint

The Mystique of the Royal Australian Mint

By Satsuki Ranjou
Spirit News
August 30, 2073

The Royal Australian Mint is a coin mint (opened 1965) situated in the Australian federal capital city of Canberra, in the suburb of Deakin. All new Australian circulating coins are minted at the Royal Australian Mint.

Before the opening of the Australian mint, Australian coins were struck at branches of the Royal Mint - the Sydney Mint, Melbourne Mint and Perth Mint. The Royal Australian Mint is the first mint in Australia not to be a branch of the Royal Mint in London. The only other operational mint in Australia is the Perth Mint.

Planning for the mint started in 1959, when it was proposed to move the Royal Mint branch in Melbourne to Canberra. It was officially opened by The Duke of Edinburgh on 22 February 1965, coinciding with decimal currency, which was introduced into circulation on 14 February 1966. The new mint and the Melbourne Mint operated concurrently as the new coins were produced. When the initial demand for decimal coinage was satisfied, the Melbourne mint was closed. Some staff from the Melbourne mint relocated to Canberra to operate the new mint. The new mint cost A$5 million to build, with an additional $4 million for equipment.

The mint consists of two buildings, an administration building and a process building. The administration building houses the engravers, a laboratory, and a vibration-free basement where coinage is measured to ensure correct size and weight.

The mint serves primarily to manufacture Australia's legal tender precious metal coins. Notes are produced by Note Printing Australia in Melbourne. The mint also produces medals for military and civilian honours, most notably the Order of Australia. The mint produced medals for the 2000 Summer Olympics in conjunction with the Perth Mint. The Royal Australian Mint also produces tokens made for commercial organisations such as casinos, car washes etc.

Since its opening, the mint has produced over fourteen billion coins and has the capacity to produce two million coins per day. Coins have also been struck for several Asian and South Pacific nations, including New Zealand (in 1969), Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Western Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Israel, and the Philippines.

The mint is an Australian Public Service agency, staffed through the Department of the Treasury.